Ricardo Vaz Tê is a player that came to West Ham last season for a low fee and tore apart the Championship. This same player has come into the Premier League and found it very difficult to replicate this form, playing in a slightly different position with a slightly different objective to his play.
Last season, Vaz Tê operated in more of a central role, and scored goal after goal. He was given plenty of freedom in his play, and the club reaped the rewards. Vaz Tê was a legend and was loved all around. Fantastic goals and the sheer number of them are perfect evidence of this.
We all know that the Premier League is the toughest league in the world. One might argue that Vaz Tê is just not cut out for the standard, to you I would say: Rickie Lambert. Lambert showed similar goal scoring ability to Vaz Tê in the championship and has managed to score many goals in the Premier League. The reason being that he is still playing his natural position! Vaz Tê is not naturally a winger, he is a striker!
The wider role has seen Vaz Tê evidently struggle. It is clear that he is very self critical and wants to show the fans that he can still be the player he was last season. Big Sam I fear, is trying to shackle Vaz Tê. Trying to give Vaz Tê set runs to make in set areas of the pitch. This is simply not Vaz Tê. Vaz Tê needs to play with freedom, he does not need to think, he can do amazing things with his feet and we have seen glimpses of this along the wing this season, but not quite the same as last.
The answer? Well I believe it is to use him as striker number 2 in the future, whether that be second fiddle to Andy or part of a two striker formation. (Adventurous hey?) Give Vaz Tê a ball and the freedom to play the game his way, and he can become a regular goal scorer once more.