West Ham United have to be careful in their management of Marko Arnautovic.
The burly forward has revealed to Sky Sports that he ‘hasn’t been training much’ lately, as he contends with continued inflammation in his knee.
The player says that he’s fit, but he also conceded that his knee is ‘not the best’.
It’s a slightly concerning assessment from the player, and West Ham have to be extremely careful he doesn’t aggravate the issue.
Arnautovic clearly wants to keep playing football and appears to be the restless and impatient type.
That’s probably just the way most injured footballers are, but West Ham mustn’t be tempted to play the Austrian through the pain barrier.
The 2017 signing from Stoke City is arguably West Ham’s most important player.
Since his move to the London Stadium, barring the first few months, he has been outstanding for the club.
Arnautovic is at the forefront of everything for West Ham, and is one of the most difficult strikers to contain on his day.
In short, Manuel Pellegrini cannot afford to lose him.
He has other decent options such as Michail Antonio and Javier Hernandez, but they aren’t a patch on Arnautovic.
West Ham must be sensible
Arnautovic will be chomping at the bit to continue playing. But the Hammers’ medical staff can’t risk him sustaining a serious injury.
The Irons need to be smart with the situation. He may need resting against his will, but that’s a better outcome than potentially being out for months on the sideline.