Manuel Lanzini stole the show against Crystal Palace on Wednesday night as David Moyes afforded the West Ham United midfielder a rare chance to feature.
The Argentine entered the action at the London Stadium as a half-time replacement for Pablo Fornals, with Moyes feeling the need to instil changes in midfield with Said Benrahma moving out to the wing.
Lanzini had only featured for 62 minutes in the Premier League over five brief cameo appearances before facing the Eagles, despite being named in all 13 of Moyes’ matchday squads thus far.
Moyes admitted recently that Lanzini is “not the number-one pick” in his midfield plans, and that he realises the competition for places is at such a level that opportunities to feature may come thin and far between.
“When I had him the first time, he was terrific. No doubt, the injury has had an impact on where he is in different ways, but I don’t see it as a reason for him not to get back to those levels,” the former Manchester United head coach said.
“His training has been improving and he’s got competition and he realises that. He’s not the number-one pick. When you’ve got competition the best thing you can do is do what he did the other night [against Tottenham Hotspur].
“You have come on, have an impact in the game and that’s the way you work your way back to it. There can be no guarantee given to any player, certainly not at West Ham at the moment.”
Lanzini lived up to Moyes’ mission statement and some more after entering the action at the break against Crystal Palace, with the £70,000-per-weekplaymaker boasting a 94% pass success rate with 34 accurate efforts from 36 – more than any player for either side in the second half, per WhoScored.
Only right-back Vladimir Coufal and his marauding forward runs resulted in more key balls, too, with the Czech Republic defender penning three to Lanzini’s two as the only Hammers to create chances in the final 45 minutes.
Lanzini was also the only player in the home side to attempt more than a single dribble, while aiding defensively with one clearance, yet stood out in attack with incisive passing far above what Fornals had been able to bring to the table.
Lanzini’s performance came at the perfect time for the 27-year-old, with reports claiming Moyes is open to selling him in the upcoming January window yet West Ham have received no offers to date.