The injury to Aaron Cresswell could have as big an impact as Dimitri Payet’s time on the sidelines did last season. Friends, family, and other West Ham fans I’ve met recently have called me crazy and deluded but I firmly believe we will miss our left back. When I heard the news, my heart went out to him. He must’ve been devastated. It got me thinking to when he joined in July 2014 and how he was signed from Championship side Ipswich Town for an undisclosed fee by the now England manager Sam Allardyce
Fast forward two years, and many West Ham fans, and supporters from other clubs, would agree that although Allardyce and Cresswell’s paths took them in different directions, a reunion would surely have been on the cards had the 26-year-old maintained his form. Let’s not forget, during their one season together, Allardyce transformed Cresswell from a Championship full-back into a Premier League defender. The left-back also scooped the Hammer of the Year award in his inaugural season in the top flight. It wasn’t so long ago that we had defenders such as Sebastian Schemmel and Herita Ilunga, but now we had a new marauding full-back to worship. Big Sam and West Ham parted ways towards the end of the 2014/15 campaign but he was then coached by Slaven Bilic who witnessed another stellar campaign from the almost ever-present Cresswell.
It could be argued that playing behind Dimitri Payet made it much easier for him to shine in claret and blue. But it could also be argued that his performances, helped make the Frenchman’s job going forward down the wing so much easier. Either way, you could see how easy the pair of them made it seem at times with Cresswell making overlap after overlap knowing the ball was going to come to him or Payet would make something of his run. With another string of impressive performances in pre-season, Cresswell was all set for another strong campaign, this time in the Olympic Stadium and in the Europa League.
But football is never that simple and a horrific tackle has sidelined the 26-year-old for a significant period. What will Bilic do now? Who, from our existing squad, is capable of filling in for Aaron? Will Gold and Sullivan dig deep to secure the services of another left back? Do all three regret selling James Tomkins to Crystal Palace? August will be the month where all these questions must be answered. We must do it quickly and whoever comes in, must make an immediate impact. I hope Cresswell comes back fitter, stronger and even better and gives his old boss the type of selection headache most young Englishmen dream about.