Winston Reid – Colossus
Author: ExWHUEmployee. Published: 24 January 2017 at 9:58pm
By Michael Bray
When Winston Reid arrived in East London back in 2010, you would have been forgiven for not being particularly familiar with his career to date. A young New-Zealander who moved to Denmark aged 11, Reid’s raw potential was evident in his displays for the All Whites during the World Cup in Germany. Despite this being his first real test at the highest level, West Ham decided to take a punt on the young Maori-born defender.
Fast-forward to January 2017, and the merit of this decision is without doubt. In a season where the Club has faced numerous challenges both on and off the pitch, Winston Reid’s qualities as both a defensive colossus and a natural born leader have been required on a regular basis. Angelo Ogbonna has rightly received praise from West Ham fans this week, following the revelation that he has been admirably playing through injury. There is a general consensus that this is the reason for his below par performances since the start of the season – as opposed to the second-season syndrome that appeared to have taken hold. This is not a criticism of Ogbonna, when fit and on form he is a solid defender (grappling in the box issues aside) who can read play and has an eye for a pass. However, what his issues this season really highlight is the importance of Winston Reid to our defence, as watching from the East Stand it has often felt as if he has played in central defence on his own.
Perhaps a strange yet apt example of this is the recent FA Cup defeat to Manchester City. Yes, we conceded five goals, and on face value it would be easy to suggest the defence were solely culpable for this. However on a disastrous evening for the Hammers, Reid made countless blocks, battled in the air and intercepted play intelligently. He also was visibly livid when we conceded, which was a symbol of his professional pride and something that the fans want to see. It is without question that were Reid not on the pitch at the London Stadium that evening, it could well have been a cricket score. The behaviours Reid showed against City are synonymous with his whole campaign, and have contributed massively to our points total in the league. The fact that five of our eight wins this season have been by a 1-0 score underlines how important his habit of winning headers, blocking shots and intercepting play on such a consistent basis really is. When the team has needed commitment, leadership and grit to get through to the final whistle, Reid has consistently shown his worth.
In the past Reid has been linked with signing for one of the big boys, the most likely of which at one point looked to be the Gunners. Purely looking at Reid as a defender he has what it takes to play at this level. However, doubts over his ability on the ball are presumably the reason that Arsenal’s interest was never more than Newspaper gossip. Having said that, as he has grown in confidence this season he has shown an improvement in this side of his game. Passing qualities aside, Reid is the perfect fit for West Ham right now and has been outstanding this season. His consistently strong performances have been a monumental factor in our climb up the table, and without him we may well have been in a relegation dogfight.
By Michael Bray.