Three West Ham players who must step up in Kouyate’s absence

Ever since joining the club from Anderlecht in 2014, Cheikhou Kouyate has been one of West Ham’s best and most consistent performers, and he has shown his versatility this season.

While he has often been deployed in the defensive midfield position during his time with the Irons, the Senegal international has also played as part of a three-man defence on a number of occasions for the club this term, with Slaven Bilic opting for a change of formation when results weren’t going their way.

The 27-year-old has made an impressive 71 clearances, 48 interceptions and 56 tackles in 18 Premier League appearances this season, and it would have come as a big blow to Bilic when Kouyate jetted off to represent his country at the Africa Cup of Nations – especially after they were thrashed 5-0 by Manchester City in the FA Cup on Friday in the first Hammers game he missed.

The gap he has left will need to be filled in the coming weeks, so here are THREE West Ham players that must step up in his absence…