The 27-year-old hasn’t featured for the Hammers since March 2018, but has scored seven times in 13 games on loan at Championship side Queens Park Rangers this season [Source: Transfermarkt]. BBC pundit Whelan has been left wowed by his efforts.
“He’s answering a few questions and critics,” he told Football Insider. “The Championship is not a walk in the park, it’s a very difficult league to be in and he’s answered a few critics saying he can’t do it.
“If he keeps doing it at Championship [level] then he will get more recognised by [Manuel] Pellegrini and there might be an opportunity from there but he’s got to prove it, he’s got to be hitting 20 goals this season at QPR, minimum. Right now he’s doing very well and you can’t take that away from the lad.”
Hugill has certainly rediscovered his goalscoring touch this season. He didn’t have the best of times on loan at Middlesbrough last time out, but he appears to have found a lovely temporary home at Loftus Road. It’s not actually that crazy, as Whelan says, to think that he might be able to win Pellegrini round if he can continue to score goals at a regular basis in the Championship. We’ve all been bemoaning the Chilean’s reluctance to play two up front to help club record signing Sebastien Haller recently, but if he had Hugill he might decide to do that. The statistics this season – albeit him playing a division below – suggest that he could do a job alongside the Frenchman. As per WhoScored.com, he’s scored more goals than both Haller and Albian Ajeti this campaign. Furthermore, he is averaging more shots and successful dribbles per game, while he is being caught offside less and fouled more. No one’s saying he’s a better striker than Haller, but he could still be a decent back up or even partner to the 25-year-old when required.