Utterly unplayable West Ham star Jarrod Bowen leaves Gareth Southgate nowhere to hide with scintillating man of the match display.
To the casual observer perusing the Premier League results today, West Ham’s 4-1 win at Watford will look like the Hammers simply getting back to their old selves after their recent slump.
But make no mistake this victory was all down to the persistence, quality and drive of one man in particular, Bowen.
Speculation had intensified over extra West Ham involvement in the England squad ahead of Gareth Southgate’s announcement for the last international break of the year in November.
West Ham star Declan Rice was always going to be one of the first names on Southgate’s squad and team sheet as usual.
But there had been increased talk he would be joined in the Three Lions setup by Hammers teammate Bowen (The Athletic).
Bowen had been placed on standby for the previous two squads and had been in strong form for high-flying West Ham this season.
When Southgate announced his selection, though, there was no Bowen.
Indeed Southgate did not even mention Bowen when listing six or seven players who he felt were unfortunate to miss out.
That was despite a public plea from Hammers boss David Moyes to Southgate for Bowen to get a deserved call-up before the announcement was made (whufc.com).
Now as West Ham close out the year in fifth place, Bowen is once again making big statements with his performances as he notched two assists, won the penalty converted by Mark Noble and saw a goal cruelly taken away by VAR.
Bowen was utterly unplayable at Vicarage Road. It was like watching Mohamed Salah at times – especially his brilliant move to set up West Ham’s fourth, a tap-in for Nikola Vlasic.
His numbers from the 4-1 win speak for themselves. According to analyst and West Ham fan Dan Woffenden, Bowen had 50 touches, attempted 16 final third passes, completed 12 final third passes, completed four out of five take-ons, created three chances, two direct assists and won the penalty which enabled Noble to notch.
Bowen would have had another assist too if Michail Antonio did not fire straight at the goalkeeper when one-on-one.
Utterly unplayable West Ham star Jarrod Bowen leaves Gareth Southgate nowhere to hide
Moyes touched on Bowen’s importance to West Ham after the game. The Scot pointed out that he is one of few West Ham players to have maintained a consistent level of performance throughout the season so far even during the Hammers’s slump.
Well now Southgate has nowhere to hide. Bowen has earned a call-up this season.
Moyes says Bowen is unfortunate that Southgate has the likes of Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho to choose from in Bowen’s position.
But what have the likes of that trio done that warrants them being above Bowen in the pecking order?
Bowen’s on fire and he’s courting an England call-up. If Southgate continues to ignore him it proves – if there was any doubt – that he picks players on reputation over form. Simple as.