West Ham United’s draw with Newcastle United highlighted once again why Ryan Fredericks is such a problem.
Fredericks has failed to establish himself at West Ham since signing on a free transfer from Fulham back in 2018.
The right-back was billed as the new Kyle Walker with West Ham proudly trumpeting his electric pace.
But the defender rarely uses it to West Ham’s advantage and looks a nervous wreck every time he plays.
Fredericks actually had one of his better games for West Ham in the 2-2 draw with Newcastle.
Two years on and nervy Ryan is yet to convince
But he was still unconvincing. And it says everything that he would not be playing had 19-year-old academy graduate Jeremy Ngakia not decided to leave West Ham last week.
One of the big problems with Fredericks is his indecision on the ball.
The defender seems to panic when he is in possession and does not see a clear picture of the play.
It usually results in him slowing the game down and pausing for too long on the ball before often giving it away or more crucially choosing the wrong pass.
West Ham fans want Fredericks to succeed. Just like they did with Sam Byram before him. He has great pace and seems to have an excellent attitude too.
But his lack of quality on the ball was once again highlighted by West Ham fans at the weekend.
Particularly when Andriy Yarmolenko entered the fray.
Yarmolenko frustration highlights the big problem with Fredericks
Because Yarmolenko, who scored a brilliant winner against Chelsea last Wednesday night, looked extremely sharp once again but equally frustrated with his teammate.
The Ukrainian was making some excellent movements and clever, penetrating runs.
But time and again Fredericks failed to recognise the movement or supply the pass at the right time and weight.
It meant Yarmolenko had to keep checking back on himself. And there were at least three occasions when Yarmolenko could have been released on the counter but Fredericks either could not find him or – perhaps most damingly – didn’t spot the opportunity in the first place.
Yarmolenko looked visibly frustrated and in the end he beckoned for Tomas Soucek to get closer to him so he could try to build attacks with the defensive central midfielder instead.
The relationship between wingers and fullbacks is vital to any team.
Back-up at best for West Ham
A large percentage of goals are scored via good play or mistakes on the wings.
It is that area where Fredericks struggles most at Premier League level.
In many ways it makes sense that two years into his West Ham career he has not progressed. He has all the attributes needed in that he is a good athlete, fast, committed, good attitude and can tackle.
But at 27 his in-game awareness, knowledge and ability on the ball are not going to suddenly improve markedly.
West Ham must work on patterns of play in training, all clubs do especially at the elite level. But come matchday that is not evident from Fredericks.
In reality Fredericks would make decent back-up for West Ham at right-back but nothing more.
With Ben Johnson yet to prove himself, despite much hype, it means the Hammers must sign a new right-back in the next window.
It is no real surprise that David Moyes was linked with the likes of Matty Cash in January (Sky Sports).
And it may be the Scot revisits that interest in the summer window if West Ham secure survival this season.