It was a bad night for West Ham Unted’s internationals and even bright spark Lucas Paqueta raises an issue for David Moyes.
Much has been made of the fact West Ham now have many more international players than they have had for some time.
It is, Moyes believes, a real sign of progress within his West Ham squad.
The Hammers had a host of players called up for their countries for the current international break including two with England, two with Italy, one with Germany, one with Brazil, one with France, two with Czech Republic, one with Ivory Coast and one with Jamaica.
On the face of it that is an impressive list and it is indeed something for West Ham to be very proud of.
But it was a bad night for West Ham’s internationals and even bright spark Paqueta raises an issue for Moyes.
West Ham star Thilo Kehrer has played more minutes than any other German player since Hansi Flick took over the German national team.
Kehrer is becoming a firm favourite at West Ham after joining from PSG. Whether West Ham’s woeful form has had anything to do with it or not, Kehrer lost his Germany place for their game against Hungary.
He was brought on as a second half sub with Germany already trailing 1-0 and that’s how the score remained.
Jarrod Bowen was an unused substitute for England and was not brought on by Gareth Southgate despite the fact the Three Lions were losing 1-0 to Italy and stared Nations League relegation in the face.
It means the struggling Hammers star only has one more opportunity – against Kehrer’s Germany on Monday – to impress before the World Cup squad is named.
West Ham captain Declan Rice has been a shadow of his true self this season. And although he was actually one of England’s better players overall, it wasn’t saying much.
Rice still did not look anywhere near the levels he has set the last two or three years as England lost 1-0 to Italy to suffer relegation from the Nations League.
And he was mocked by the nationals after the game for ‘leaving fans baffled’ with his assessment of the defeat and England’s woeful form (Daily Star).
For the Italians, Gianluca Scamacca had an impressive first half in a front two with his former Sassuolo strike partner Giacomo Raspadori – who was also rumoured to be a West Ham target before joining Napoli.
But like with West Ham under Moyes, Scamacca did not get to play the whole game as he was substituted early in the second half and Raspadori got a superb winner.
His West Ham and Italy teammate Emerson has also lost his international starting place to Inter Milan’s Federico Dimarco who was man of the match. West Ham’s new left-back was only used as a time-wasting sub as he came on in the 89th minute.
WIth Hugo Lloris injured, Didier Deschamps elected to make Mike Maignon his clear second choice by selecting him for the win over Austria. Only fate conspired to give Areola a taste of the action as Maignon was injured halfway through and the West Ham goalkeeper came on to keep a clean sheet. But it is clear Areola will be third choice ‘keeper for France at the World Cup.
The only real positive for West Ham from the internationals so far – besides nobody getting injured – was record signing Paqueta.
The Brazil ace has struggled in a West Ham shirt so far as fans call for Moyes to change his system and style to get the best out of the former Lyon and AC Milan star.
Paqueta has been one of the star’s of Brazil’s World Cup qualification campaign.
He was played in a deeper midfield position for Brazil as they won 3-0 in a friendly against Ghana.
Marquinhos scored early on before a brace from Spurs star Richarlison as Raphinha and Neymar got the assists.
Paqueta twice came close to scoring and should have had an assist in another fine display for his country before being subbed with 10 minutes to go.
His versatility was highlighted as a big positive by Moyes when West Ham signed him from Lyon. But if he is playing a deeper role for his country then it begs the question where do the Hammers play him at club level.
Another impressive performance for the world’s top ranked team piles the pressure on Moyes to quickly start getting the best out of the new Hammer.
You can see Paqueta in action in the highlights below.