David Moyes’ decision to tell his West Ham United players to train at the London Stadium has been hailed by pundit Noel Whelan, per Football Insider.
The Daily Mail have previously reported that the former Everton and Manchester United boss is holding sessions at the club’s stadium, with the players in full kit.
A session over the weekend is said to have involved a full 11v11 match, with every player decked out as though they were playing in an actual game.
And it is said to be built towards preparing the players for the potential strangeness of the Premier League when it restarts later this month.
Indeed, Project Restart is set to see games kick off again on June 17, when Aston Villa will face Sheffield United and Arsenal will meet Manchester City.
The grounds will be empty, though, with no fans allowed in due to fear of COVID-19 transmission.
And Whelan believes that Moyes’ plan to acclimatise his players to such an environment before the restart is one that will be copied by other managers.
The Hammers, after all, lie 16th in the table, level on points with 18th-placed AFC Bournemouth and only clear of the relegation zone on goal difference.
He said: “It is very smart, a great idea.
“West Ham need to hit the ground running because they are in trouble.
“When you are playing on your own turf you get used to the size of the pitch and the environment.
“I would not be surprised if a few teams do that. It is a good way to get used to playing in the stadium without fans.
“They have only got a short amount of time so it is a very clever idea from Moyes to do that.
“You do not want any team to have any kind of advantage. Normally home fans give you that edge.”
GIVEMESPORT’S Harry Sherlock says…
The Premier League is all about marginal gains.
If a club can find a way to eke out three more points across the course of a season, it could well be the difference between relegation and survival.
For West Ham, that is almost certainly the case, as they face nine games in which to preserve their Premier League status.
Thus, Moyes’ plan to expose his players to what is sure to be a rather eerie atmosphere before Project Restart kicks in is, as Whelan says, a smart one.
It remains to be seen if other clubs at the bottom, or even near the top, of the league will follow suit but it would make sense.
Moyes is setting a superb example here.
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