After putting in yet another impressive defensive away performance last time out at Old Trafford, Winston Reid certainly remains firmly placed within good-books of the Upton Park faithful.
The New Zealand international has become a staple in the Hammers’ starting XI since first arriving at the club back in 2010 – and after enduring a difficult debut season in which West Ham were eventually relegated – the now 28-year-old centre-back has developed into a truly reliable force in the East End.
Slaven Bilic’s side have only conceded a total of two goals against the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United respectively this term – with Winston Reid’s usual presence within the team arriving as no mere coincidence. Although the defender has indeed experienced his fair share of poor team performances with the Hammers, the former FC Midtjylland centre-back has rarely let his manager down on an individual level.
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So then, although Manchester United’s Bastian Schweinsteiger may feel slightly less inclined to praise the current Hammers man on the back of their recent on-field dispute – could Winston Reid arguably go down as the most under-rated defender in the Premier League?
Well, although a fair few contenders could easily be considered for such a title, West Ham’s Winston Reid surely deserves a significant shout. The 2010 World Cup goal-scorer has all the necessary physical traits to make it in the English top-flight, his overall reading of the game is excellent on most given occasions – and whilst he did in-fact fall victim to a cruel own-goal against West Brom last month – Reid’s organisational abilities are usually very well-tuned.
However, as the centre-back role isn’t quite the most glamorous position in the modern day starting XI, the current Hammers no. 2 very rarely receives praise beyond the realms of Upton Park. Reid initially arrived at the club largely off the radar, he only really started developing for West Ham during the 2011/12 season spent in the Championship, and he originally derived from a nation that doesn’t promote football as much as several other major sports.
As the Premier League’s top-four usually receive the most media attention, non-Hammers fans also aren’t given much opportunity to witness Winston Reid at his best on a consistent week-to-week basis. The New Zealander’s reputation has therefore remained somewhat low-key, despite the admitted curiosity surrounding his contract situation at Upon Park last season.
Yet, whilst the physical centre-back certainly remains one of the most under-rated defenders in the English top-flight, it’s nonetheless difficult to label him as the out-in-out most significant case. In reality, each of Crystal Palace’s Scott Dann, Southampton’s Jose Fonte and Leicester City’s Robert Huth could at times belief to be worthy of the claim – for West Ham’s Winston Reid ultimately has his shortcomings just like most Premier League defenders.
For all the positive traits he displays on a consistent enough basis, the powerful defender simply falls down when it comes to calmly bringing the ball out from the back, and producing a decent range of technical ability to help him out of trouble.
Reid is sometimes guilty of playing the long-ball one too many times in a match, with his manoeuvrability with the ball at his feet also remaining slightly questionable with all things considered.
It is on the basis of these factors alone that Winston Reid probably wouldn’t have made it at the Emirates, despite being reportedly linked with the Gunners not so long ago.
So then, although the 28-year-old defender may not represent the perfect centre-back in any sense of the word, he still nonetheless fails to receive as much praise as he perhaps deserves. Reid is clearly one of the most under-rated players in the Premier League, for if he had been playing for a team like Manchester United this whole time, the general British sporting media would have likely gone nuts.
In the end though, West Ham fans couldn’t speak any higher of Winston Reid right in the here and now – and that’s all that really matters.