West Ham Underrated XI
Author: Emily Pulham. Published: 21 April 2020 at 7:51pm
Written by : @JGriffithJourno
If you haven’t listened to the latest West Ham Way podcast, make sure you go and do so because you will love every second of it. Although, while Dave and Ex were picking their own Underrated West Ham XI, my youth really showed. I was not too clued up on a number of their picks, so here I am giving you my own Underrated XI – but only players that have played since I began watching the Hammers back in 2007.
Remember – its just my opinion, message me on Twitter and tell me yours!
So here we go, here’s my Underrated Hammers XI of the modern era!
GK: Jussi Jaaskelainan
It is very hard to make any argument for anyone but the big Fin really, our goalkeepers (bar the obvious) have not really reached the highest standards in recent years. But whenever Jussi started between the sticks I just felt like we were in safe hands. He summed up the Allardyce era perfectly; solid if not spectacular.
Honourable Mention: Darren Randolph
RB: Guy Demel
Okay, we aren’t spoilt with options here. But what Demel lacked in pace he definitely made up for in defensive intuition. Joey O’Brien was favoured for much of Guy’s spell in East London, however Demel always seemed the more complete footballer of the two.
Honourable Mention: Joey O’Brien
CB: Reece Burke
It really is slim pickings in the defence, but I do look back on Reece Burke’s time at the club with some frustration. In 2016 he had just been named Bradford’s Player of the Season and was beginning to look like another academy success. But instead, he was loaned out again and eventually sold while we had to watch Havard Nordtveit do his best Roger Johnson impression for a season.
Honourable Mention: James Tomkins
CB: Manuel da Costa
The Moroccan’s time at the club coincided with a 17th place finish and a relegation, however I always felt his ability a level higher than the rest of Zola and Grant’s squads. He was a competent defender and he even chipped in with some important goals. Just don’t go and watch his free kick against Everton on YouTube, seriously don’t.
Honourable Mention: Jose Fonte
LB: Arthur Masuaku
Where do we start with Arthur? On his day, he is by far our best Left-Back and he has the attacking talent to be an above-average winger too. Unfortunately, he is far too inconsistent for most fans, yet part of me thinks that we are too soft on Cresswell when he makes even worse defensive errors than Masuaku, so in my mind he is undervalued.
Honourable Mention: Herita Ilunga
RM: Robert Snodgrass
The man epitomises everything West Ham is. He works hard and has the technical ability to get you off your feet. Yet some fans still take issue when they see the Scot’s name in the starting line-up. It really is time we start appreciating Snodgrass and what he brings to our team.
Honourable Mention: Junior Stanislas
CM: Pedro Obiang
Obiang was written off by fans very early on in his career in London and nobody really gave him a chance. Yet there was a point in his second season where he had the highest tackle percentage in the whole league. He was a good dictator of play and a solid defender and his overall reading of the game was impressive to watch, if he were playing next to Declan this season, we would not be in a relegation dog fight.
Honourable Mention: Alex Song
CM: Kevin Nolan
Our best captain in recent years, yet the Chicken Man is criminally underrated. This is likely due to his final years at the club where his legs had begun to go. But, the 3 years before that he led us back to where we belong and was our top scorer two years running once we got there. And his influence off the pitch cannot be disregarded, and we’ve seen how impactful his presence is again this season.
Honourable Mention: Joao Mario
LM: Victor Obinna
Another standout from the relegation squad of 2011, which may be why many have forgotten him as it is probably best to remove that whole season from our memories. But the Nigerian was a tricky, pacey winger who could come up with brilliant moments. I am of firm belief that he would have torn the Championship to shreds and he would’ve been a far better Right-Winger than Mo Diame was in the Premier League; although, who wouldn’t?
Honourable Mention: Edimilson Fernandes
CF: Alessandro Diamanti
A shining light of Zola’s reign, an Italian jewel in a falling crown. His flair and charisma made him such an exciting character to watch and he wasn’t half bad at football either, was he? If he had stayed a few more years he could’ve been a club legend. His free kicks were mesmerising, and he was so good at them he even used to challenge Zola to competitions in training. Diamanti has even admitted his regret at leaving West Ham, which may have brought a tear to my eye.
Honourable Mention: Andre Ayew
ST: Andy Carroll
Now I know this will be unpopular, but Andy Carroll was a good player for our club. He looked a broken man last year, a shell of his former self. But prior to this, he always gave 100% and he was the best target man in the league for his first few years. The injuries were annoying, but the talent was there. Some fans talk of Carroll in the same bracket as Calleri and Zaza, he deserves more appreciation.
Honourable Mention: Diafra Sakho