September was a frustrating time to be a Hammer but one thing that gave me hope for the future has been the thought of right-back loan-signing Alvaro Arbeloa getting a run in the side.
Having the experienced Spanish defender available will be a massive boost to a West Ham defence that cannot stop leaking goals, but it’s not the only reason that his presence will be a present for the club. It’s been suggested that the loan signing of Arbeloa was made not just for the benefit for having the player on the pitch, but also for the guidance and experience that he can bring to the development of West Ham’s young right back, Sam Byram.
Arbeloa certainly has a wealth of experience to pull from. Th e 33-year-old defender began his career at Real Madrid, moved to Deportivo and then joined Liverpool from January 2007 until July 2009, appearing in 98 games.
He then returned to Real Madrid where he won eight major titles over seven years – including two Champions League trophies. His international career has been equally as impressive. Arbeloa has been capped 56 times for Spain and was part of the squad that won Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup, and Euro 2012.
It’s a tremendous CV, and one that will be greatly appreciated by West Ham fans. Byram, on the other hand, is just beginning what Hammers fans hope will be a long and illustrious career. He made his start playing for Leeds United in 2012 and moved to West Ham United in January of 2016. He had to make his debut for West Ham just three days after he signed for the Hammers when Carl Jenkinson limped off with a season-ending injury – yet hasn’t retained the starting position at right back with any regularity, with manager Slaven Billic often choosing to start midfielder Michail Antonio over him in the defensive position.
Byram is a talented and clever player with a bright future ahead of him, but he’s had a challenging start to this season. A lack of options at right back has led to the young player needing to take on a very senior role in a very short amount of time. He’s worked hard, and done his best, but a disappointing amount of goals have come down through his side of the pitch.
Having a senior player who has the trophy cabinet that Arbeloa boasts will be an incredible opportunity for Byram to observe an exceptional talent and learn from him. After all, Byram has big things ahead of him. The English-born 23-year-old has yet to receive an England cap, but if he can benefit from an international player with a World Cup and two European Championships under his belt, he could be the next big thing in English right backs.
Until then, West Ham need the experience and talent of Arbeloa on the pitch – and hopefully, with the two of them working together, the goals conceded will dry right up and West Ham can get back to winning ways