Date: 20th October 2019 at 7:00am
Written by:

OPINION

Imagine not being able to do something for 19 months.

It’s probably fair to assume that when you made your comeback to whatever it was that you were not able to do, you would be more than a little bit rusty.

Imagine then that when you did make a return in front of thousands of people in one of the most watched sporting competitions on the planet.

That’s the proposition facing Winston Reid at the moment.

In fairness to the New Zealand international, when he does next step on to a football field after the horrendous knee injury that has kept him out for so long, it is likely to be in a U23s game on Monday than in the bright lights of the Premier League, as per the Evening Standard, but nonetheless, at some point or other he is going to have to return to the top flight, and that must be a daunting prospect.

According to Danny Mills, however, his quality means that should have nothing to worry about.

Speaking to Football Insider, he said: “He’s shown in the past he’s a fabulous player, a great defender. If you can bring a brilliant player of that ilk, centre-half is all about experience, being a commanding authority in there at times.

“It’s not just about how you play, it’s about how you organise, how you deal with other people, how you improve other people around you, how you lead, how you guide people.

“Without a doubt if he gets himself up to full fitness and back to that, there’s every chance he’ll be a great asset.”

Now, obviously the Sky Sports pundit raises a very salient point here. If Reid can return to the kind of form he was showing prior to his spell on the sidelines, then the Hammers will have a real player on their hands.

The 31-year-old was averaging 8.1 clearances per game and 2.7 interceptions, plus an average Whoscored rating of 7.08, in 2016/17, his last full season before his absence.

Clearly he is a massive defensive talent, but it would be nothing short of miraculous if he was able to just slot back into the heart of the Irons’ defence as if nothing had happened.

The reality is that the £70,000-a-week ace [Spotrac] is bound to take some time to readjust, and he may never get back to the level he was once at.

Supporters will be praying Mills is right though.