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It says a lot about far West Ham United have come under Manuel Pellegrini that they could be spoilt for choice when it comes to star of the season.

Pellegrini himself for turning West Ham into genuine contenders for a European place after starting his tenure with four straight defeats.

Young Declan Rice who at 19 has been playing like a seasoned top class international central midfielder.

Bargain signing Lukasz Fabianski who is being hailed West Ham’s best goalkeeper since the great Phil Parkes.

Record defensive signing Issa Diop who looks a snip at the £22.5 million he cost the Hammers is another. Labelled a ‘monster’ by Jose Mourinho, Diop looks every inch a future France international star.

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West Ham spoilt for choice over Hammer of the Year

Then there is brilliant Brazilian Felipe Anderson who has taken the Premier League by storm with eight goals and several assists already.

That’s not forgetting the rejuvenated Robert Snodgrass who has been like a man possessed in turning his Hammers career around in the most unlikely fashion.

Veteran Pablo Zabaleta is another surely in the running given his consistently superb displays.

But the true star of West Ham’s season stays in the background and rarely gets a mention. His name is Mario Husillos.

There is a lot to be said for keeping ones head down and going about your job quietly and efficiently.

It sums it up that not one picture is available of Husillos from the world’s biggest sporting photographic agency to include in this article.

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Real star Husillos stays in the background

The director of football was appointed by owners David Sullivan and David Gold in a shake-up of the club’s recruitment process.

Vouched for by Pellegrini after working together to bring success to Malaga, Husillos clearly has an eye for a player.

 

West Ham fans know how much Sullivan has meddled in the club’s recruitment since taking over the club.

Even after taking a vow of silence, Sullivan can’t resist the taking credit when things are going well.

When Declan Rice signed a new long-term deal on Christmas Day, Sullivan took much of the credit on the club’s official website.

Not that Sullivan and Gold don’t deserve credit. They do. Especially having taken so much criticism from fans last season.

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More Husillos magic in January could help seal Europa spot

But Husillos managed to work his magic in a limited timescale in the summer to bring in true quality.

Anderson, Diop, Fabianski and Fabian Balbuena have been key.

Andriy Yarmolenko looked top class too before his unfortunate season-ending injury.

Now all West Ham need is for Husillos to pull a few more rabbits out of the hat in January. It sounds as if he will be busy with West Ham linked with over 30 players already.

West Ham’s injury list is long and unforgiving.

Some quality in the right areas can boost the squad and help the Hammers seal a Europa League spot.

Do that and Husillos just might be the unofficial Hammer of the Year.