West Ham: Antonio talks Payet; Arbeloa happy; youngster wants more first-team chances

The international break came at a good time for West Ham as they should have two or three players back to full fitness for the match against Watford. The headline news being that Dimitri Payet should be fit to start the match and he is central to the West Ham attack. He has been badly missed and will be welcomed back into the side this weekend. Michail Antonio has been talking about the Frenchman’s attitude off the pitch and the comments are encouraging for West Ham supporters:

“Off the pitch he’s the nicest guy ever, so down to earth, so chilled, always has time for everyone.”

 

“Hopefully he can come back nice and fit and pick up where he left off.”

“He takes the mick with some of the boys in training with some of his skills.”

The Frenchman is the star at West Ham, but he approaches the game in the right way and that is just as important as his playing ability. Antonio’s comments suggest that he is a good character to have around the squad and a player of his stature will only have a positive influence on young players coming through. After Euro 2016, many players would have pushed for a move to a bigger club, but Payet is happy in East London and it was huge for West Ham to keep him.

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It is always difficult to leave a club like Real Madrid as there is only one way to go and that is down. Alvaro Arbeloa’s latest comments reflect this, but he is happy that he joined West Ham, providing him with another opportunity in the Premier League. The Mail report these quotes from the Spanish media:

“I thought about it long and hard this summer but West Ham is a club that suits me in all ways – the coach, the fans, the stadium, the city.

 

“It’s difficult when you leave Madrid. It’s like when you leave heaven, it’s difficult to pick a new place on earth but this option is is right for me. At Madrid you have the very best of everything. But I’m very content because I am where I want to be.”

It is hard to disagree with these comments as it is a downwards step from Real Madrid to West Ham, but there are a lot of positives for both sides. West Ham have gained an experienced full-back, who will be great to have on the training ground, especially for Sam Byram. Meanwhile, Arbeloa gets back into the game with a new challenge and he will be relishing the opportunity to play regularly once more. This was a low risk move from West Ham and it is one that could offer huge rewards.

Finally, Ashley Fletcher has been interviewed on the official site and is hoping to get more game-time this season, after starting against Manchester City in the league. The injuries in the squad provided the young striker with an opportunity and he looked bright, despite failing to find the net. He has said this on his hopes for the season:

“My personal ambitions are to get as many games and as many minutes as possible”

 

“Whether it’s starting games or coming off the bench, I want to be involved as much as possible. I think I’ve made a good start and made an impact so far and hopefully that continues.”

It was a coup for West Ham to secure Fletcher this summer after a positive loan spell with Barnsley last season. At the beginning of last season, he was ahead of Marcus Rashford in the pecking order at Manchester United and there are hopes that he will develop into a good Premier League striker. He will offer good competition for the first team, but the signing of Simone Zaza will restrict the opportunities he gets this season.

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