Diego Poyet made his first Premier League start for West Ham in their defeat to Manchester United at the weekend and he did not look out of place.
The 19-year-old was thrown in at the deep end because of a calf injury that Mark Noble picked up in training, meaning the midfielder had to be drafted into the starting XI.
Despite the Hammers missing both Noble and the injured Cheikhou Kouyate in the centre of the park, Poyet ensured their absence was not overly conspicuous with an assured performance.
He completed 27 out of an attempted 30 passes (90 percent accuracy), and won possession six times at Old Trafford.
United’s Daley Blind and Ander Herrera dominated the midfield for the opening half an hour, beating the Hammers to everything as they looked to take advantage of their slow start to the game.
However once West Ham gained more possession and time on the ball, Poyet found his feet and started to demonstrate the type of ability that made Sam Allardyce snap him up from Charlton Athletic in the summer.
He broke up the play, intercepted loose passes and distributed the ball to great effect, it was a performance which will have done him the world of good and made a strong case to the manager of his role in the team this season.
Poyet has a lot in his locker as a defensive midfielder, not only does he use the ball well but he is not afraid to get himself about and put in important challenges. He also reads the game well and always looks forward which in an invaluable trait at the top level.
He fits well with the new style of football that is being implemented by the Hammers this term. They hit just 47 long balls against the Red Devils, compared to the home side’s 70.
His passing and composure in possession at Old Trafford conveyed just how much of a talent the youngster is. He didn’t let the occasion pass him by and, given the time, he could turn into a key asset at Upton Park for years to come.
With Kouyate possibly out for another five weeks and Noble now injured as well, Poyet could be needed in the Hammers next few matches giving him the chance to impress further.
They have an important clash with QPR on the horizon and rather than shuffle his midfielders around to bring in a more experienced attacking option, Allardyce should keep his faith in Poyet and continue to play him in the anchor role.
He done a great job there against United, despite the defeat, and needs as much game time as possible in order to progress his development and adapt to the pace and intensity of the Premier League.
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