David Moyes has been advised to play Nikola Vlasic as a false nine…by the Croatian media!
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The 23-year-old joined the Hammers on transfer deadline day for around £31 million. He was handed a five-year £70k-a-week contract (ExWHUemployee).
And it looks like West Ham have a real player on their hands.
The Croatia international showed real class against Southampton during a 30 minute cameo on Saturday.
Vlasic started against Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa League last night. He wasn’t at his best but he just needs time to settle in and acclimatise to the way West Ham play and work as a team.
David Moyes receives Nikola Vlasic advice
The 23-year-old can play on either wing, or even in the number 10 role, slotted in behind the striker.
But the Croatia international is useful in another position as well.
Moyes responded when asked what he thought about Vlasic last night, as quoted by Football.London:
“I see him playing 7, 10, or 11. I think we can use him in all those positions. You [Croatian press] will probably know much better than I do. What I’ve seen just now I really like the look of. I think we need to give him a bit of time to settle with us, our speed, the movement with how we play. But he’s a brilliant boy. He is great, you will know that much better than me, he has a fantastic attitude, committed, determined, and he will be good for us. What I want is his goals, I want his assists. I want all that whether he plays 7, 10 or 11. And I know he can bring that so I thought today was good for him, coming home to Croatia I felt was a good place for him to start. And we’ll bring him on and hopefully have a really top Premier League player in the future.”
A Croatian journalist then responded by saying:
“He has played a false nine for the country so maybe you can use him there!”
And Moyes answered in amiable fashion:
“You’re right I might need him then, thanks for that wisdom!”
Moyes may well have to use Vlasic through the middle on Sunday when we welcome Manchester United to the London Stadium.
He could also opt to utilise Jarrod Bowen or Andriy Yarmolenko of course.
It will be interesting to see what Moyes decides to do. Without Antonio, we need to find a different way of playing. Whether Vlasic will feature from the start on Sunday remains to be seen.