What can we expect in the 2021/22 Season?
It was Fornals’ strong 2020/21 form that leads Andres Iniesta to liken the West Ham man to himself due to his movement off the ball. This season, Pablo has taken the number 8 shirt, also worn by Iniesta at Barcelona, and he will be hoping to live up to such a decorated player. This season could be the “hard-working cockney boy” to establish himself as a true West Ham cult hero.
Pablo has looked very lively in the pre-season, putting in an extreme performance in the 6-2 victory against Celtic, providing two assists and carving out chances time and time again with his passing. He certainly appears more assured on the ball, and his passing has been much more direct than it was at times last season. This can be seen with his assists in the Celtic game, as he only took one touch before picking out a perfect pass to his teammate. If he continues to play with such confidence, he will be a dangerous attacking threat.
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Fornals has certainly not lost his work rate over the Summer, and he looks as fit as ever. Another impressive aspect of his game that has been key this preseason is that the Spaniard is always in space and ready to receive the ball, making sure that his teammates always have a passing option. This allows the team to keep possession and comfortably move the ball through the thirds. He is willing to receive the ball anywhere on the pitch, making him a crucial component in Moyes’ plans.
West Ham will hopefully add to their ranks this Summer, and it has been reported that the club is looking for another attacking midfielder and a striker. This will undoubtedly affect Fornals, as he will have to compete with another midfielder and learn to play with new teammates. However, Pablo has shown that he is versatile enough to play in every midfield position and has won back his position in the squad on several occasions. He certainly possesses the right mentality and ability to learn to adapt to playing with a new striker as well if the club decides to sign a player of a different profile to Michail Antonio.
Finally, Fornals is one of the few players at the club who have played European football before. At Villareal, the midfielder made 19 appearances in the Europea League, where he scored four goals and assisted four more. This experience will be valuable to the squad, and the Spaniard has already shown he can thrive at this level, meaning he will indeed be included in Moyes’ team on Thursday nights.
The upcoming season is set to be a huge one for West Ham, but Fornals has shown he can be counted on to provide for the team. Possibly one of the most underrated squad members, and still with plenty to prove, Pablo is always ready to leave everything on the pitch. With European experience and growing confidence, the Iron’s very own Iniesta is primed for a standout campaign.