Speaking in his pre-match press conference, David Moyes revealed that Thilo Kehrer – who was absent from the Hammers’ squad which defeated Anderlecht 2-1 in the Europa Conference League on Thursday – was left out of the midweek clash as an injury precaution, before revealing that the defender should be available for the trip to St Mary’s on Sunday.
Regarding the current condition of the 26-year-old, Moyes said: “We took a precaution on Thilo more than anything [on Thursday] night but we hope he’s going to be fine.”
Considering just how important a part of the West Ham backline Kehrer has already become since his £10.1m move to the London Stadium this summer, the fact that the versatile centre-back should make a return to first-team football this weekend will undoubtedly have come as a huge boost to Moyes and his side.
Despite getting off to something of a shaky start in east London, giving away a penalty on his Premier League debut in the 2-0 defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion and scoring an own goal in the 1-1 draw against Tottenham Hotspur, the £26m-rated talent has slowly but surely been starting to show why he was brought to the club.
Indeed, over his seven Premier League appearances so far this season, the Germany international has helped the Irons to keep two clean sheets, while averaging 1.6 interceptions, 1.1 tackles and 3.1 clearances per game.
The 26-year-old has also impressed in possession of the ball, completing 36.9 passes – at a success rate of 87% – playing 1.7 long balls and making 0.3 key passes per game.
Furthermore, with the former Paris Saint-Germain defender being able to operate from centre-back or right-back – with Kehrer having already played in both positions for West Ham – his impressive positional versatility is also a very useful trait for Moyes.
As such, it is clear to see that the German’s likely return to action against Southampton is great news for both West Ham and their 59-year-old manager, who will undoubtedly be hoping to continue his side’s recent fine form with yet another victory on the south coast on Sunday afternoon.