Sam Byram played his first 90 minutes in seven months as he continued his comeback from a long-term injury.
On Monday, Byram played the full game as Nottingham Forest’s under-23 team won 1-0 at Sheffield Wednesday. He is recovering from a knee ligament injury which has kept him sidelined for the vast majority of this campaign.
But despite his recent return from injury, Byram’s chances of playing for West Ham in the future have surely been ruined by this long-term injury.
Sam Byram: frustration at West Ham
Byram has been plagued with injury concerns since his January 2016 move from Leeds United. He was seen as the long-term right-back solution but he has only managed 36 appearances for the Hammers since then.
In the summer, Manuel Pellegrini decided to send the 25-year-old to Nottingham Forest on loan for the season. But rather than getting a fresh break, Byram’s injury struggles have continued.
Sam Byram could have replaced Pablo Zabaleta
Pellegrini’s plan with Byram was clear. If he impressed enough, he would have earned a place in Pellegrini’s pre-season plans for the 2019/20 season. If not, he would have been sold.
As it happens, there could be a vacancy at right-back next season. Pablo Zabaleta is out of contract and his recent performances have been sub-standard.
Ryan Fredericks is the first-choice right-back but needs someone to compete with. That could have been Byram.
In his first three games for Nottingham Forest, he showed his class and an impressive season in the Championship could have earned him a West Ham recall.
But missing the whole season from injury looks like it will ultimately cost him the chance to prove himself at West Ham.