West Ham United’s £17million man Andriy Yarmolenko was back with a bang on Tuesday night after three months out through injury.
West Ham are embroiled in an intense relegation battle which is expected to go down to the wire.
And David Moyes needs every option he can get.
Moyes finally gets eyes on Yarmo
One player he has not been able to call on since returning to West Ham in December is Yarmolenko.
The Ukraine star has been out since injuring his thigh in the win over Southampton in December.
The 30 year old enjoyed an excellent start to the season as did West Ham.
But his performances faded along with the team’s when injuries to Michail Antonio and Lukasz Fabianski derailed West Ham’s season.
Reports have claimed West Ham will look to sell Yarmolenko in the summer after the injury problems which plagued his time at Borussia Dortmund continued into his first two seasons with the Hammers (Football Insider).
£17m man could yet have a big part to play
Yarmolenko could yet have a big part to play in keeping West Ham up, though.
And that would go some way to repaying his £17million transfer fee.
That’s if his comeback performance for West Ham’s Under 23s in the Premier League International Cup quarter-final against Derby is anything to go by.
Yarmolenko looked fit and sharp as he was involved in nearly everything good West Ham did in the first half.
Yarmolenko shines on Hammers comeback
The winger combined well with right back Ben Johnson to twice set up goals as West Ham took a 2-0 lead – both superbly finished by Oladapo Afolayan.
Derby pulled a goal back before Yarmolenko went inches wide with a superb free-kick.
The Rams equalised after the break before Yarmolenko took control, going close with an acrobatic effort before hitting a vicious volley from the edge of the box which almost gave West Ham Under 23s the lead.
Some brilliant one touch play revolving around Yarmolenko saw the first team star set up Mesaque Dju but he could not convert.
Johnson set up Bernard Rosa to fire West Ham back in front on 70 minutes before Yarmolenko almost tricked his way through on goal five minutes later.
Derby made it 3-3 late on to force extra time as Yarmolenko lasted the full 90 minutes before being withdrawn, perhaps with a view to being involved in West Ham’s squad for Wolves.
Yes the Premier League will be another level for Yarmolenko.
But it bodes well that he did not look sluggish or too rusty when up against a host of young, energetic stars in what is a big competition for the development sides.
Yarmolenko is an international class player capable of finding a killer pass and possesses quality finishing.
Moyes will be keen to have him involved perhaps from the bench this Sunday.