During a little publicised radio interview in November of last year, current manager of the Spanish national team and former World Cup winner, Vicente Del Bosque, was asked about his future squad selections for his nation’s upcoming matches.
Whilst David de Gea and Iker Casillas remain front-runners to hold onto the Spanish no.1 shirt for now, the 64-year-old manager is still seemingly yet to decide on who will fill the last available goalkeeping position in his much talked about set-up.
When pressed on the issue, Del Bosque only had this to say;
“Why does no body ever ask me about Adrian, the West Ham goalkeeper?”
Such remarks have subsequently drawn attention to the Hammers shot-stopper, who has certainly been one of Big Sam’s top performers throughout 2014/15. This is only Adrian’s second season in English football, and since first making his mark in La Liga with Real Betis just a few years ago, the 28-year-old is fast becoming somewhat of a cult hero with his passionate displays down at Upton Park.
Now then, nearly three months on from Vicente Del Bosque’s apparent interest in calling up the current West Ham man, is Adrian San Miguel fast becoming one of the most underrated keepers in the Premier League this season?
Adrian’s biggest asset so far has certainly been his success rate in one-on-one scenarios. Several of the Premier League’s most highly valued attacking hot-shots have been foiled at the hands of the current Hammers man this campaign, and whilst his side’s clean-sheet record has been nothing spectacular throughout 2014/15, Big Sam’s defence would definitely be worse off without their first choice keeper backing them up.
His distribution has also been a joy to behold for the Upton Park faithful throughout his time at the club. With such a weapon on board, it comes as no surprise that the likes of Aaron Cresswell and Carl Jenkinson have been able to bomb forward with great success for Big Sam this season. West Ham’s high tempo and fast counter-attacking play has a lot to do with Adrian’s quick thinking and rapid ability to turn defence straight into attack.
Whilst everything would seem pretty rosy for the West Ham man between the sticks at the moment however, Adrian’s overall game still contains a few clear weaknesses.
For all his confidence in and around the box, the rising star isn’t exactly the best at dealing with corners – especially when certain teams flood the keeper’s area and try to dominate proceedings in an overly physical manner. Last weekend’s mishap in the lead-up to Danny Rose’s goal against West Ham, largely displays Adrian’s potential problems with the lofted ball, even though such a finish was born more out of luck than anything else.
The ever-vocal Spaniard has also been known to let certain situations go to his head this season. Off-ball tussles with the likes of Mario Balotelli have somewhat become characteristic of his usual performances, and as such moments can often lead Adrian to lose his concentration at times, the Upton Park faithful have become accustomed to potentially accepting the odd sending off for their forever passionate keeper.
However, it is just this kind of passion that has so endeared Adrian to his new home in the east end. Excitement, drama and an ever present love for the game are exactly what West Ham fans want to see from their players. Even if goalkeepers are usually supposed to be calm and composed at all times throughout the 90 minutes, Adrian’s somewhat questionable antics have largely been forgiven in favour of his loveable character.
His match winning penalty against Everton in the FA Cup earlier this season, where the confident Spaniard took off his gloves on route to scoring the winner, acts as a great example of just how much of an entertainer Adrian can be.
Therefore, whilst his overall game certainly isn’t perfect in every aspect, most Hammers fans wouldn’t trade him for the world at the moment – and that says a great deal about a player who initially arrived in London on a free transfer with no one really knowing who he was.