Before Wednesday night’s friendly at Dagenham and Redbridge, Jordan Hugill had played 12 minutes of football for West Ham United. Because of this, it has been hard to gauge what sort of player he is and how he can fit in to the team. After his first 90 minutes, it became a bit clearer. He isn’t going to be a striker who goes on a mad scoring run and get us 20 in a season. Ideally, he would but that’s not the case here. To liken him to a recent player, he is more likely to be in the Carlton Cole mould (sharing the same number for instance, is just the start). If picked, he will do a job and put a shed load of effort in to it. Watching him play (albeit in a front two in which we are unlikely to use going forward) it was refreshing to see a striker in a West Ham shirt staying in the centre up top. Having this kind of focal point is something we have been seriously lacking. All too often we’ve had strikers drifting wide and then looking up to an empty box and either attempting to cross or having to pass back to another player. As a team that at the moment seems to have very direct players, having Hugill stick to his centre forward role was important. But, perhaps that’s just the benefit of playing two strikers.

Sticking to the centre of the pitch meant that when the ball was given wide, mostly to Cresswell or the returning Masuaku, they had someone to aim for in the box, something which has been missing with Andy Carroll out injured. The difference between Hugill and Carroll, and it’s a fairly big difference, is that Hugill often got bullied in the air. Numerous times, balls were pumped up to him and I struggle to remember the times when he won headers or wasn’t sent sprawling to the ground. If that’s the sort of player we were looking for in the most recent window, that’s not what we have got with Hugill. Particularly on this showing. It could be that it takes one going in off of his backside and he gets some confidence, but at the moment time isn’t on his or the club’s side.

I know that may be coming across as harsh, considering he did score and had an effort ruled out (correctly) for offside, but considering the level of the opposition (no disrespect to D&R by any means) but he must start showing what he brings to the team. Having said that, when he wasn’t being knocked down by the wind opposing defenders, he showed some good touches. He quickly distributed the ball to a nearby player before heading up the pitch. Where Carroll edges it in terms of strength, Hugill has mobility on his side. It was tidy play, but by no means spectacular. No one will expect fireworks from him and few were provided on the night. A few stepovers in the box in the first half eventually came to nothing but a run he made with the ball in the second half lead to a chance for someone to have a shot (I’d tell you who it was, but I was stood directly behind Adrian’s goal for the match). As a side note, it was refreshing to see not only Hugill, but the team moving off the ball and making space for each other. It’s still early days, but at least it looks like it has been addressed and worked on. Whether that comes to fruition against Southampton is a different story.

So, onto an overall summary about Jordan Hugill. From this friendly alone, it’s not difficult to see why he hasn’t been playing. Aside from his goal, which you would expect any striker

to finish off, and his disallowed effort, where he linked up well with Scully, I was underwhelmed. He is very much a Ronseal striker, he will do the bare minimum you expect from a centre forward. But what will that bring to the team going forward? As I said, he won’t bang 20 goals a season and win us the league, not everyone can be a Jamie Vardy. But against the Daggers, he had a few chances that went begging. A few crosses came in that he either lost out the header to a defender or just didn’t want it as much as the defending player. One of those times lead to Antonio’s first, but he should have taken the chance when it came. It’s up to him to show what class he has, no matter the opposition. Going forward from this, I think he is a good player to chuck on for 10-15 minutes if we need to defend, he did that well on the night, but I can’t see him as a game changer. He is the type of player who should start a game and be taken off if we need a kick up the bum but for me hasn’t done enough to be starting games. He will be lucky to get a significant number of minutes over the last few games. I’d love to be proven wrong and have this shoved in my face but after this friendly, I’m not convinced yet. Overall, I’d give him a 6/10. COYI.


By Stephen Barrows

Jon Pope

By Jon Pope

Use to sit in the BML for 10 years, been a West Ham fan all my life, and my great grandfather was a founder member of the TIW. I also help run the Hammer Chat website.

One thought on “Jordan Hugill – Player Watch”
  1. Nowhere near PL standard and totally staggered and bemused at this signing. Not his fault and seems a decent lad.
    Watched I’m closely against Daggers and agree with these comments.

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