Since signing for West Ham two years ago, Jarrod Bowen has simply become indispensable and it’s been quite the rise to Premier League fame for the 25-year-old.
Last March, I wrote that he may have peaked too soon in claret and blue having had a memorable home debut, a great few months and then gone a little quiet. I take back those words now.
This season he has been incredible to watch and very difficult for any opposition to play against. He just looks so settled into this team now and Moyes has handled him perfectly.
Last season, he was being given an average of 68 minutes per game. This season, the manager has afforded him 85 per match.
The ever-modest Moyes has credited Bowen with adapting to top tier football, but seeing how he was used in the last two seasons and tracking his progress goes to show how the manager also deserves praise.
Of course, Jarrod needs to put in the work to reap the rewards and we can all see how he does that; his attitude, run rate, team spirit and all-round likeability stands him in good stead.
Enough stead, in fact, to be linked with a move to Liverpool.
This season so far, Bowen has registered seven assists, scored six goals and had a passing accuracy of 76 per cent.
In the whole of last season he put in five assists, netted eight times and averaged 74 per cent pass accuracy.
So one thing we know about Jarrod Bowen is that he makes solid progress – from the Championship to the Premier League, and from one season to the next.
But with Sadio Mane and Mo Salah seemingly making contract talks difficult at Anfield, Klopp shouldn’t be looking to Bowen as a direct replacement (says the woman who thought Bowen had peaked last year – read this piece in a few years and see how it aged!).
The Liverpool manager has noted the Englishman’s ability to improve himself and wants a piece of that for himself, pinning his hopes on Jarrod wanting to play for a ‘big club’.
Moysey’s response to that was that he is “at a top club now”. Yes David!
But he just suits West Ham and David Moyes. We appreciate him for what he can offer and, without wanting to sound needy, we do need him.
His physicality suits the current setup, his crossing ability is working superbly with the likes of Dawson and Soucek in the box and, to be honest, we could do with keeping his intelligence in the box.
The Liverpools, Chelseas, Manchester Uniteds of this world would obviously love to add him to their armoury, who wouldn’t?
But as we’ve so often seen, it can be nice to be a popular fish in a smaller (yet massive!) pond…or something like that.
Bowen has the opportunity to grow his career with us, not just plateau. East London is an exciting place to be right now – European football has arrived, and we’re making it look like we’re going to keep competing for the honour every season.
Footballers are silverware chasers and there’s no reason that, at the age of 25 now, Bowen can’t win several medals with the Hammers.
All this also puts him in contention for an England shirt, and it would be well deserved if it were to be offered.
In January, it was reported that the number 20 had been involved in more goals than Rashford, Sancho and Grealish put together – Southgate can’t ignore form like that and would be foolish not to consider including him sooner rather than later.
With his club partner Declan Rice playing such a central role in the England team, the timing couldn’t be better for Bowen to make a splash, with a World Cup on the horizon.
Rashford isn’t firing on all cylinders – between injury and finding form, he couldn’t be guaranteed a place in Southgate’s starting line-up. He’s netted four times in 13 games this season, which gives him the same goals per game stats as Bowen.
Grealish is also finding his feet at Man City, having scored twice this season and assisted twice. I know Jack is touted as a superstar – he has undeniable ability and makes his work rate known – but I do think Bowen would be a match for him in an England shirt.
Right now, it’s a pleasure to have Bowen as part of our regular first team and at this club he can grow in his role. The situation is right – the timing of his move, being in London, having Moyes as a manager and his age have created the perfect story.
Are West Ham his ceiling? I think it would be harsh to say that. But would he slot in so effortlessly into another club, with another manager in an alternative situation? I don’t care to find out.