The Sky Sports pundit revealed that he thought the Hammers winger had hit the ground running and claimed he thought the 29-year-old looked a little bit lost when featuring for Manuel Pellegrini’s side last season.
Higginbotham shared he had no doubts about Yarmolenko’s quality and added that he thought the winger seemed very comfortable when cutting inside from the right flank.
“I think Haller, great signing, Fornals…then you’ve got players like Yarmolenko coming back,” said Higginbotham on Football Centre (Sky Sports News, (11:35am, Thursday, October 3rd).
“He missed so much of last season through injury and he’s come back to really hit the ground running.”
“I think he is enjoying his football, he is getting back to full fitness, at the start of last season before he got injured, I think they were playing a 4-2-3-1 and at times he was looking a little bit lost but then he got injured and missed a huge amount of the season, just like a number of the attack-minded players they missed a lot.
“Yarmolenko, there’s no doubt of his quality and as you can see his very comfortable driving inside from the right.”
Higginbotham stated that he thought Yarmolenko looked lost in his outings last season and suggested the formation Pellegrini was opting for as perhaps the reason for his struggles, but surely the 29-year-old looking lost at times was a just a result of him getting his bearings? Yarmolenko joined the Hammers from Borussia Dortmund ahead of last season, and given that he hadn’t played in the Premier League previously, some of his lacklustre performances were surely a result of him trying to understand the league. The 29-year-old featured in nine Premier League games before a knee injury ended his season, and when you consider he only completed 90 minutes on one occasion, as per Transfermarkt, Pellegrini was no doubt treating him like a player who needed to be eased into things at the London Stadium. That said whatever reason caused Yarmolenko to look lost last season has clearly gone away as there’s no denying the 29-year-old has hit the ground running this season. The winger has looked lively, he has averaged 1.8 shots per match and has impressively completed 1.3 key passes across his league outings (Source: WhoScored) and bar some signs that he is still shaking off some rustiness from having spent a long-term on the sidelines, he has arguably been one of the Hammers’ most valuable players this season.