Phil Parkes: ‘Bowen should use his World Cup blow to fire us to survival and European glory’

Goals create confidence, and if Bowen's brace doesn't led to him getting more goals than I don't know what will

Jarrod Bowen (WHU) at the West Ham United v Leicester City EPL match, at the London Stadium, London, UK on November 12, 2022.

I wasn’t surprised to see Darren Randolph leave last month. In truth, he probably should’ve left earlier. He played 10 first team games since he came back in 2020 and if he’d had some pride, and wanted first team action, he should’ve gone somewhere else, like he did previously with Middlesbrough.

I’m not sure he’s good enough to be in goal for a Premier League club and he’s moved to a side that already has two goalkeepers so he’s almost in the same position as he was with West Ham. I feel like a Championship club would’ve been a better fit for him but maybe he’s been signed by Bournemouth with Championship football in mind.

In Fabianski and Areola, we’ve got two very good goalkeepers – we certainly didn’t need two others in Randolph and Martin because keepers rarely get injured. When I played, I always had an experienced back-up keeper and that was it.

Randolph remaining at West Ham for so long without really getting much of a sniff of first team action reminds me a bit of Rob Green who left us for QPR. He was West Ham’s number one and that wasn’t going to change anytime soon but he left to go and sit on their bench and make better money.

To me, he was coming to the time in his career where he needed to be a number one and take pride in that.  Money isn’t the be-all and end-all. If I hadn’t made it to first team goalkeeper, I would’ve probably packed it in and played non-league or amateur and enjoyed my football.

This campaign Fabianski has kept his place as our number one with Areola playing in the cups, and it’s moves like this that can keep back-up keepers happy. Hopefully, for now, Areola is happy to carry on like this with a view that Fabianski will retire and he’ll become our number one.

But if he decides that he too needs to go then that leaves us very light in the goalkeeper department.

Looking back at our games against Wolves and Everton, the performance and result in the Black Country was so disappointing. I could have played in goal for Wolves. We never caused them any problem at all.

We really don’t seem capable at the moment of being able to scrape a 0-0 draw. We just don’t seem to have it in us. As for Everton, they are a side worse than us at the moment and we, for once, took full advantage of that and got the win,

We will have games coming up where the opposition aren’t in the best form and we need to take advantage of this, something we don’t always do. If we can get another couple of wins in the league quickly then we’ll open up some breathing space between us and the bottom three.

But if we go on another run of not getting results then we’ll suddenly be back to looking over our shoulder and wondering just where we’re going to get another win from. The victory over Everton ensured Moyes get a stay of execution.

The trouble we have now is if we do go on another winless run or worse, another run of defeats, then any new manager the club appoint won’t have long to turn things around. And they won’t be able to bring in any new faces. You can be the best manager in the world but it just wouldn’t make that much difference with the short amount of time they’d have left of the season.

We probably have to stick with Moyes now until the end of the season and then maybe look at making a change over the summer. Relegation to the Championship would, as we all know, be a disaster for us. It’s so difficult to get out of and I’m not sure the players we’ve signed to help battle in Europe and for the European places are going to be up for the fight for promotion in the Championship.

Another positive thing to come out of the Everton game was that Bowen got back on the scoresheet. I’m hoping his two goals will kick start his season now as sometimes that’s all it takes.

Goals create confidence, and if his brace doesn’t led to him getting more than I don’t know what will. When you look at our forwards now, Scamacca is injured, Ings was injured on his debut and clearly Antonio isn’t happy so it doesn’t look good up top.

Antonio might not have had a great season but he is still a hugely influential player in the team. He ever gives up and is a real handful. When he isn’t in the team, I bet the other defenders are delighted.

To lose a player like him, at this important time of the season, would be a disaster. Bowen, for me, has been one of the biggest disappointments this season. He only had to continue his fine form from last season into this season and would’ve got into the England squad for the World Cup.

But he really didn’t deserve to be anywhere near that squad with the way he was playing leading up to November. Let’s hope that disappointment has also given him a kick up the backside because we are creating chances in games but we just haven’t had anyone confident enough to take them.

With the European competition starting up again soon, that will add a bit more pressure on us, and it’ll be no good us getting to the semi or the final of this competition and still be in the bottom three in the league. We’ve got a fair few weeks before we play our next Conference League game so I’m hoping we get some good results between now and then.

That’ll give us confidence that we have turned a corner and we can then have a real go at this competition. Confidence is what it’s all about. Rice and Soucek have not had the best season and we, collectively as a team, haven’t really clicked.

Soucek, as I’ve said before, is not playing in the best position for him, he hasn’t scored anywhere near as many goals because he’s not getting the chances to get into the box. Other players that were buzzing last season haven’t performed as good as they did last season.

And it leaves me asking: Who would be a football manager?  Because you really can’t control the players when they are on the pitch. It’s pretty much the same set of players who did so well in the previous two seasons as well.

The FA Cup, European football, we’ve got a couple of tough games and some winnable ones too. This period coming up now is the most important of our season.

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