Jordan Hugill could find it even harder to win back a place in the West Ham United team after he was publicly criticised by Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis.
The 26-year-old was a surprise addition to the West Ham squad when he signed from Preston North End in January.
Hugill struggled to earn a place in the first team and ended up playing just 22 minutes of action.
His lack of game time resulted in new manager Manuel Pellegrini sending the attacker to Middlesbrough on loan for the 2018-19 campaign.
So far this season, Hugill has started five Championship matches and has come off the bench in a further five.
The Middlesbrough-born player is yet to score for his loan club, and after Saturday’s goalless draw with Stoke City, Pulis criticised the forward for diving.
The Gazette Live quotes the Boro boss as saying:
“I’ve had a chat with Jordan. I thought Jordan went down far, far too easily a couple of times today. I don’t want that as a manager. That’s not right. We’ve sorted that out after the game. I think he went down twice dramatically. I don’t like all that nonsense. That’s got to stop, and he’ll know that now.”
When older players are sent on loan, it is not usually the best sign, particularly if they have not been at their parent club for long.
It is unlikely that Hugill will have a genuine chance of breaking into Pellegrini’s team at the London Stadium next season.
However, the more pressing issue at hand is the danger of him getting a reputation for being a diver on the pitch.
Pulis’s public condemnation of Hugill’s antics will put him under the microscope in future matches.
And while play-acting has become part and parcel of the game, the striker will be wary of it hampering a potential future transfer.