George Parris: ‘We’ve started well but have tough games before our European adventure begins..’

There’s no reason why we shouldn’t get out of our Europa League group

James Ward-Prowse (WHU) at the West Ham United v Manchester City EPL match, at the London Stadium, London, UK on 16th September, 2023.

I think if anyone had offered West Ham fans the start to the season and summer transfer window we’ve had, we’d have all chewed their right arm off. How you start a season can be so important but I don’t think many of us were expecting us to pick up 10 points from our opening four games and it could’ve been 12.

The international break now gives some of our players the chance to rest before going again when the Premier League restarts and we can look forward to our game against Manchester City. Games against Manchester City are a free hit but we’ll go into it full of confidence and who’d have thought we’d be saying it’s a top of the table clash at the start of the season? It’s got a nice ring to it.

We know they are a good side but there’s no reason why we can’t have the confidence to give it a go. After that we go to Liverpool but I feel the way we are performing right now, we have half a chance.

Certainly having points on the board makes it easier heading into these two tough games. Our start to the season will also help us if and when we do have a bad run of results because we will still be up there and just need to get one result to kick start our season again.

As for the summer signings, if you look at it overall, with the calibre of players we have brought in, it has to be the best transfer window that we’ve had for a while – certainly the best with Moyes in charge. The likes of Ward-Prowse and Álvarez appear to have slotted in well already and I’m sure Kudus and our Greek defender, Mavropanos, will also play their part this season.

For the money we paid for Ward-Prowse, I think we’ll view it as good value come the end of the season based on what he’s already done for us. He’s a seasoned campaigner, he brings Premier League experience, and there aren’t many others in the league who can do who he can from dead ball situations. Aged 28, he’s also entering his peak.

It was important that we spent the Rice money wisely, and I think we have. We’ve not only been able to bring in extra bodies which add strength in depth, we’ve made a profit too. And as well as being impressed with Ward-Prowse’s start to the campaign, it looks like Jarrod Bowen is back to his best.

I think if you speak to most ex-footballers, they will tell you that most footballers, in an ideal world, want to play well every season and be on fire. But sometimes, for whatever reason, you have a season where you’re quieter than you’d like, or don’t have as much impact in games, and then the next season, you’re back playing well again.

Sometimes you can’t put your finger on it, and when you look back at last season, Bowen wasn’t poor, he just wasn’t reaching the same levels he is now. That said, he did end last season in decent form and scored the winning goal in the Conference League final, so it wasn’t a terrible season for him by any stretch.

And then you have players like Ronaldo and Messi who were the exception because they were able to come back season after season and reach the same heights. That’s why they have enjoyed such long careers. Also you have to remember with Jarrod that last season was the build up to and then the birth of his babies and sometimes life off the pitch can affect how you perform on it.

As for his goal against Brighton, to take it on the outside of your foot, whilst running, with how the ball had been played into him, without breaking stride and slotting it home, it was something I could only have dreamt of doing in my day! Finally, looking ahead to the start of our Europa League campaign and on paper, the group is a favourable one for us.

Being in Pot One was always going to benefit us but we’ve still got to go out there and get the points we need to progress to the next round. I think if we win all our home games and maybe one on the road, that should be enough but we’ll see.

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