West Ham forward Lucas Perez now has it all to prove at the club, following reports he refused to warm up against Everton on Sunday.
Manuel Pellegrini named the Spaniard as a substitute for the fifth consecutive Premier League match.
The Hammers managed to win 3-1 at Goodison Park – their first points of the season.
It was easily their best performance, with a number of players putting in great individual displays.
However in the second half, it appeared as though Pellegrini wanted to send Perez into the action.
Cameras caught the £4 million summer signing from Arsenal remonstrating with goalkeeping coach Xavi Valero.
Moments later Pellegrini brought on Michail Antonio instead.
The incident did not go down well with Hammers supporters after the game.
‘He changed his decision’
Perez has attempted to quash the rumours that he refused to warm up.
Taking to Twitter, he said: “Given the false information spread by the media that has affected my image, I am obliged to explain the only truth: I have never ever refused to warm up in my whole career, let alone play in a match.
“The coach called me to go out and play, however having realised that it was faster to sub Antonio in, who was at that moment warming up, he changed his decision.
“The images that have been misinterpreted corresponded to a talk with the goalkeeper’s coach, in which I never refused to warm up and explained to what happened.”
Perez now has it all to prove
Of course, there’s no way for fans and viewers to know for sure that he refused to warm up.
Sometimes stories can come out nowhere and ultimately prove defamatory.
But this certainly does not look good on the face of it.
West Ham fans have been disappointed with Perez’s showing so far, and something like this could cling to him.
He was always going to deny refusing to warm up. That will probably not wash with the supporters, some of whom called for his contract to be terminated after the game.
It’s certainly going to be difficult for him. With Felipe Anderson, Marko Arnautovic, Andriy Yarmolenko, Robert Snodgrass, Michail Antonio and Javier Hernandez all ahead of him in the pecking order, it’s hard to see where an immediate turnaround comes from.