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When West Ham United signed Andriy Yarmolenko in the summer he had all the makings of the hero the club needed.

After two torrid seasons at the London Stadium, Dimitri Payet’s mesmeric skills already seem a distant memory.

Hammers fans love a flair player, a maverick, someone capable of producing the unexpected.

And despite struggling at Borussia Dortmund Yarmolenko certainly ticked those boxes.

Manuel Pellegrini desperately needed creativity when he took over in the summer.

So when star playmaker Manuel Lanzini was ruled out for the season that need became even more acute.

At £42 million record signing Felipe Anderson was the headline acquisition even if he was relatively unknown in England.

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Let’s go Yarmo

But ask most Hammers fans which signing excited them most an a large percentage will point to Ukraine star Yarmolenko.

His progress into the starting XI has been slow, though, after a niggling injury in pre-season where he had impressed in games against Aston Villa and Ipswich.

His tricky style is reminiscent of one Sir Trevor Brooking while there are also shades of Di Canio in Yarmolenko’s play.

But he has only featured as a substitute in West Ham’s four Premier League games so far, which have all ended in defeat.

Yarmolenko started the cup win over AFC Wimbledon but looked short of fitness and was withdrawn in that game too.

 

He did show flashes that he could be a real hero when he gets fully up to speed.

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Two monkeys off his back

During the international break there were sure signs he is well on the way to doing just that.

After getting 70 minutes under his belt in his country’s 2-1 win over the Czech Republic, Yarmolenko got two monkeys off his back in the next game against Slovakia.

Not only did the £17.5 million Hammers recruit start and complete his first club game for eight months, he scored for the first time in nine months too.

Yarmolenko’s 80th minute penalty was enough to settle a tight contest in Lviv, giving the 28-year-old his 36th international goal and Ukraine all three points.

It is the winger’s first goal since scoring in Dortmund’s German Cup defeat by Bayern Munich in December 2017.

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Time to win Hammers hearts

And it was his first 90 minutes since January.

That bodes well for West Ham with Everton away looming large this Sunday.

West Ham fans will want to see Yarmolenko starting now.

Everyone at the club from the owners to the fans are desperate to see some signs of hope from the summer overhaul.

The Irons have a dismal record at Goodison Park.

So what better place for Yarmolenko to start winning Hammers hearts?

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