Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Phillips Backs West Ham United To Re-Sign This Former Midfielder: What Will He Add To Moyes’ Side?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

In a recent interview with Football Insider, former England forward Kevin Phillips has backed West Ham United to re-sign their former player and current Inter Milan midfielder Joao Mario who is playing on loan at Sporting CP this season. Phillips said,

“It is definitely an area they will look at in the summer.

“They have relied very heavily on Soucek and Rice this season. We have seen when Declan is missing that they are not the same side.

“David Moyes is not daft, he knows that he needs cover. It is just a question of whether you can find a good player who is willing to sit on the bench and be that cover for Rice and Soucek.

“They need a player who accepts he will not play every week but is happy challenging for a spot when given the chance. It is difficult. It is like a striker going to Tottenham when Harry Kane is there. Soucek and Rice will play if fit, it is as simple as that.

“Joao Mario is a player that has history at West Ham so he might be happy to come back and not necessarily play every single week.”

Mario’s Excellent Loan Spell At José Alvalade Stadium

Mario is experiencing a fruitful loan spell in Portuguese football because he has managed to produce several influential displays at the heart of Ruben Amorim’s midfield. The Portuguese sensation has netted two goals and bagged two assists in 29 matches for his loan employers this term on all fronts.

The 28-year-old has done well to influence the game at both ends of the field as he is averaging 1.1 tackles, 0.7 interceptions, 0.8 shots, 1.2 key passes and 1.7 dribbles per 90 minutes in the Liga NOS this season. He has even distributed the ball exceptionally well after making 88.1% of his attempted passes in league football (stats via whoscored).

Phillips backs West Ham United to re-sign Joao Mario who is seen in the picture
April 11, 2021, Lisbon, Portugal: Joao Mario of Sporting CP R vies with Gil Dias of FC Famalicao during the Portuguese League football match between Sporting CP and FC Famalicao at Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon, Portugal on April 11, 2021. Lisbon Portugal – ZUMAf123 20210411_zap_f123_010 Copyright: xPedroxFiuzax

What Will The Portuguese Midfield Ace Add To David Moyes’ Team?

Mario can get stuck in with a few hard tackles to disrupt the opponent’s rhythm in the game at the centre of the park. He has also got the hunger to win possession back for his side, so we can expect him to add some bite and steel to West Ham boss David Moyes’ midfield department if the Hammers decide to re-sign him ahead of the new campaign.

The Portuguese sensation usually works his socks off for the benefit of his team and can even strike the ball with power from long range. Moreover, he has got the eye to play a killer pass in the attacking third, so he could bring some goals and creativity to the London Stadium if Moyes opts to give him a chance during this summer transfer window.

At 28, Mario is currently playing at the prime stage of his career which makes him an ideal midfield option for the Hammers to consider in this off-season. He will undoubtedly add some healthy competition for Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek at East London in the coming seasons. Plus, the Portuguese talent would also serve as a decent long-term successor to Mark Noble, who is in the twilight years of his playing career.

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