Jarrod Bowen arrived at West Ham United with a reputation for regularly finding the net following a glowing stint with Hull City in the Championship.
The Hammers moved for Bowen on January deadline day at the start of this year at a time when the club were crying out for inspiration.
Fears of relegation were rife at the time of his arrival but, although Bowen didn’t quite manage to rediscover the potency he displayed in the Championship, David Moyes eventually managed to steer the east London outfit clear of the relegation zone.
A return of one goal and four assists showed that the left-footed assassin had potential to thrive at the elite level, and another three goals in his first eight games this season have further showcased his prowess in front of goal.
But while Bowen continues to find his feet in his new environment, it is intriguing to note how his role has fundamentally changed since he signed for West Ham.
Working within the parameters of Moyes’ rigid system, one which demands defensive discipline from back to front, the 23-year-old has been forced to tweak his style.
Using data acquired from Twenty3, it is clear that the freedom Bowen enjoyed at Hull hasn’t been afforded to him at West Ham and his statistical output reveals how he has adapted.
In the Irons’ system Bowen has improved on some of the defensive aspects of his game, engaging in more pressing duels and completing more ball recoveries in the opponents half as a result.
Meanwhile, his tendency to drive at opponents with the ball at his feet, typically slaloming inside from the right touchline, has reduced somewhat. With the Tigers he attempted 5.38 dribbles per game across the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons, but that number has reduced to just 3.31 at West Ham this season.
What Bowen has lost in dribbling he has made up for in a rise in link-up plays, which, when juxtaposed with his dribbling stats, suggests he is embracing a more selfless role in the side and utilising other weapons in his armoury.
The contrast can also be explained by the respective standards of Premier League and Championship defenders, but there is no doubt that Moyes’ philosophy has played a decisive role in turning Bowen into a more complete attacking player.
He has not managed to establish himself as the type of talismanic figure that saw him regularly earn gushing praise in the second tier, but there are certainly positive signs to suggest Bowen, who is valued at £25.2m by Transfermarkt, is meeting the demands bestowed upon him by his new boss.
With both the willingness to adapt and the capacity to cause damage with the ball at his feet, Bowen looks likely to go from strength to strength as the season unfolds.
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