The Hammers are flying high after a brilliant start to both the premier league and the europa league. They’ve only lost to Liverpool and Manchester City so far this season. This comes as a surprise as most fans were nervous at the start of the season due to a poor domestic campaign in the 2022-2023 season and losing much loved captain Declan Rice. However Moyes has got the team looking defensively solid as well as playing brilliant attacking football.
West Ham have a strong African influence in their team, namely their star signing Mohamed Kudos who recently transferred for 38 million from Ajax. There are key African players all over the pitch as it is likely Said Benrahma, Nayef Aguerd and Maxwel Cornet will also be selected for their respective national teams. So how long will we be without them?
The tournament is due to start on the 13th of January, where clubs are expected to release players a week before that. The final is played on the 11th of February, meaning the team could lose players for up to 5 weeks, depending on how deep into the tournament their nations get. Usually after a major tournament players also receive a few days off before returning to club football, but that has to be agreed upon with manager David Moyes.
But wait, it gets worse…
The average January day temperature in host country Ivory Cost is around 32 degrees. A stark comparison to West London’s winter temperatures. Such a change in temperature can be harmful to players. The dangers are mostly heat stroke and a heightened risk of soft tissue injury. Couple this with the added ‘passion’ that comes with representing your national team and it’s easy to see how players pick up injuries at these tournaments. Asking for this level of performance at this time of the footballing calendar can bring about serious injury risk, as we saw with the last years Qatar world cup being held mid-domestic season.
All this brings about the question, where is Lingard? We could have really done with him during this period. Will the team have enough depth to cope with the losses? We have to remember other teams will be without players too, so will it matter at all? Please comment your thoughts.