Dimitri Payet was undoubtedly West Ham’s star man for the first quarter of the season. His injury against Everton was obviously a huge blow but I wasn’t panicking as I thought it would give the jewel in our side the opportunity to shine.
I figured our squad was now in a position where Payet’s absence wasn’t going to have as much of a massive, season-changing impact as an injury to a player of his importance has had in previous campaigns. Th e reason was I knew we had Manuel Lanzini to fill the void. He’d done all right this season, and I’d been impressed with what I’ve seen.
He’s scored some crucial goals already, and took his goal against Spurs very well, and you just thought he was starting to step out of Payet’s shadow. With no Payet until 2016, we needed him to keep scoring, creating chances, and playing well but his injury is very cruel on Slaven Bilic. Th e other talking point amongst West Ham fans recently has been Andy Carroll starting games, and how he looks so much better coming off the bench.
Because of the player he is and his reputation, there is an expectation that he is going to score in every game and create a bundle of chances for others. But when you have had a long lay off you need time to get back to your best and we need to persevere with Andy for a bit longer.