O Captain, My Captain

West Ham was waiting for the moment Jarrod Bowen stepped up and said something and it might finally have happened. Keeping his teammates motivated all week and then going out and scoring his first ever hat-trick. Not only did he lead by motivation but also by example. He put the team on his shoulders. Nothing against Kurt Zouma, he's a well liked teammate, but the Bowen era has more than arrived. It's time he wears the armband and takes this squad to the next level.
Luton Town v West Ham United - Premier League
Luton Town v West Ham United - Premier League / Eddie Keogh/GettyImages

In a post-game interview after beating Brentford 4-2, West Ham forward Jarrod Bowen remarked that he spoke to the team before the match. “I told them that one win could change the season,” Bowen told reporters. “And that one can lead into another and we will keep moving forward.” Bowen then went out and scored his first career hat trick giving West Ham its first win of the 2024. It was a much-needed victory that might change their luck and spring them into European qualifying and a top 7 finish. 

It was also the first time we’ve heard Bowen take the reigns as a vocal leader and then go take a game over. This is Bowen’s fourth year in East London after a successful spell at Hull City where he caught the eye of David Moyes. Most teams were afraid of his inconsistency at the Championship level, but Moyes took a chance that there might just be more. Bowen has responded by developing into one of West Ham’s most important and talented players. Bowen of course has already reached West Ham immortality by scoring the game-winning goal versus Fiorentina in last year’s Europa Conference League final. 

It might have taken him until this week, but it is now clear Bowen is the leader of this squad. Whether he wants to wear the captain’s armband or not. At the beginning of the season, the team backed and named Kurt Zouma their new captain after two seasons of Declan Rice, who had replaced long-time captain Mark Noble after he retired. This is not an indictment on Zouma who is a fine player who everyone respects, but this is Bowen’s team now. 

Bowen recently signed a new contract and with Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp announcing he will step down after the season, the whispers of Bowen one day replacing Mo Salah on the wing have gone quiet. Bowen of course loves the club and has vouched for playing for Moyes again and again. He’s also sacrificed his own position where he loves to play so that Mo Kudus can continue to flank the right side. While he hit his own slump after coming back from an injury during West Ham’s winless streak, Bowen still has 14 goals on the season, good for third amongst premier league scorers, tied with Ollie Watkins and Dominic Solanke. He sits 3 behind league leader prolific forward Erling Haaland. 

Before next season, West Ham might have moved on from co-captain Angelo Ogbonna, who is in the final year of his contract, leaving the opening for new leadership to take shape. The more vocal Bowen becomes and the more he grows into the type of leader that other players follow then it will be apparent. Bowen is the future.