David Moyes is not known best for his man management skills. Everywhere he has been, there have been key players who have fallen out of favour under the Scot or been banished to the bench for seemingly little reason.
Wilfred Zaha and Javier Hernandez are two examples who were both isolated under the Scotsman during his spell at Manchester United, with the Mexican again facing similar treatment when Moyes originally took over West Ham in 2018. Previous record-signing Sebastien Haller didn’t have the best time under Moyes either and it seems a pattern is starting to develop. If you don’t suit Moyes’ style or fit into the certain categories he demands from a player, you are likely doomed.
However, the players listed above have an excuse – they weren’t signed by Moyes. This makes the next part so baffling. Why is Gianluca Scamacca struggling to kick on despite being handpicked?
Scamacca is having a rough time of it and struggled to fit into Moyes’ current system – when he played that is. The Italian started just 16 games in all competitions this season and hasn’t featured in the Premier League since mid-January. A couple of minor injuries didn’t do him any favours but his absence has mainly been down to Moyes’ persistence to play Michail Antonio and now Danny Ings who is also looking lost upfront by himself – what a strange coincidence.
When asked before his most recent injury about his reasoning for the Italian’s exclusion to the starting lineup, Moyes’ excuse was that his ‘physical data’ wasn’t good enough which is ludicrous. Stats and data are often useful in professional football, they can be a good indicator of a player’s ability and their impact on a game. But for strikers the most important statistic is goals, it’s as simple as that.
If you want a striker who will score you goals and win football matches you would pick Scamacca out of our current three options every day of the week and twice on Sundays. The fact he hasn’t been adjusting to our system or getting the numbers that Moyes is looking for means nothing because all our forwards have struggled to perform for the majority of this season.
You don’t sign one of the most exciting strikers from Serie A for £35 million, fail to give them consistent game time and then complain that they effectively don’t run enough. The system needs to be changed to suit Scamacca and his skillset, just as it should have been to suit Sebastien Haller.
If we wanted a striker who ‘tries hard’ and runs around a lot we should have signed Neal Maupay from Brighton and committed ourselves to mid table mediocrity for all eternity.There seems to be something going on in the background because there is no real reason why Scamacca shouldn’t have started most games unless he was injured.
His frustration at the situation became apparent recently. In the 4-0 home battering of AEK Larnaca, Scamacca was hooked after just 55 minutes and as he slowly walked back round to the touchline you could quite clearly see him muttering in annoyance. Against Aston Villa, Scamacca was in his kit ready to come on after warming up twice but Moyes snubbed him for Maxwell Cornet who had been out injured for five months to try and win the game instead of the Italian.
Paqueta also struggled to hit the ground running in claret and blue and again Moyes didn’t really know how best to utilise the Brazilian, which if you think about it, is mind boggling considering we splashed out £51 million for his signature. The 25-year-old has thrived in recent weeks playing in a deeper role where he can dictate play, something that has taken Moyes nearly six months to figure out. He is definitely adapting to the league and he has been outstanding in a number of games.
But why has it taken Moyes so long to realise the best way to use a player that he personally wanted and scouted? He doesn’t seem to listen to players or ask them where their best position is. If you sign two amazing talents surely you want to build the team around them and keep them happy but we seem to do the complete opposite.
Scamacca looked shot of confidence before his latest injury and who can blame him when he hasn’t started a league game in months? I’ve been a Moyes advocate for the whole season and I desperately wanted him to turn things around but his man management of Scamacca has really proven how outdated his methods really are.
The best thing for us to do is to keep the Scotsman until the end of the season and then part ways. A new and exciting manager could really bring the best out of the squad and I’m certain we will finally see Scamacca hit the heights many expected in the summer as a result.