The latest Kurt Zouma injury update could “derail” the remainder of West Ham’s campaign according to injury expert Ben Dinnery.
THE LOWDOWN: VOID LEFT
The Frenchman limped off in the Hammers’ recent league meeting with Brentford and hasn’t featured since.
It was revealed by the club’s official site last week that the 27-year-old suffered a sprained ankle with Issa Diop filling in as the Irons made it to their first major European semi-final in 46 years.
THE LATEST: WORRYING UPDATE
With the east Londoners still in the hunt for European football in the Premier League and dreaming of a Champions League place by winning the Europa League, Dinnery feels that their hopes could well have been dashed by the recent developments.
He told Football Insider:
“This is a concern.
“You tend to think of centre-backs as being fairly robust and players who play through the pain barrier and get on with it.
“So when a player is unable to continue, that’s a fairly good indication that there is something sinister going on.
“Where we are standing now, it’s touch and go for the rest of the season. There are no guarantees we will see him again.
“With the absence of Ogbonna and now Issa Diop, it is worrying. It has the possibility of derailing their season at the final hurdle, almost.”
Moyes’ side take on Chelsea this Sunday before the first leg of their mammoth Europa League semi-final clash with Eintracht Frankfurt but the worrying injury crisis at such a vital stage of the season could open the door for a 21-year-old novice.
THE VERDICT: NOW OR NEVER
Aji Alese has made just one appearance for the first team this season, that coming in their final Europa League group game with qualification already secured, but according to the Mirror [20 April, page 52] he could be drafted in by Moyes.
The outlet said that full-back Ben Johnson could move to the centre while Declan Rice could revert to defence although that would disrupt the balance of the team while Alese is a natural centre-back.
In February the reporter collaborated with former West Ham U23s manager Dmitri Halajko who said Alese has “impressive leadership skills for such young age” and lauded his potential:
“He’s quick, good on the ball,” he said.
“He’s a reliable, mature young man. But most important he’s a quiet leader. His leadership skills are at such a high level.
“He’s going to be a very good player and hopefully his opportunity will come at West Ham.”
Perhaps, Moyes will see similar attributes and give the youngster a chance to prove himself.