David Moyes should unleash West Ham United’s skilful youth talent Nathan Holland after losing Andriy Yarmolenko to knee ligament damage.
The Irons boss confirmed that the Ukraine international had sustained damage to his knee while speaking following the Hammers’ FA Cup defeat to Manchester United on Tuesday night.
Yarmolenko was one of three causalities of the loss, with Angelo Ogbonna forced off with an ankle injury and Issa Diop later becoming the first player in English football history to be replaced through the newly instigated concussion protocols.
Yarmolenko had started the Old Trafford affair as Moyes’ de facto centre-forward as West Ham opted to leave Michail Antonio at home, after the striker displayed signs of serious fatigue during his side’s goalless draw with Fulham last Saturday.
Moyes is optimistic over Antonio’s chances of featuring when West Ham next take to the field against Sheffield United on Monday night, but less so on Ogbonna or Yarmolenko.
“Ogbonna has injured his ankle and Yarmolenko his knee ligaments,” the Irons boss said, via quotes by football.london. “Angelo will be a miss because he has been a big player for us.
“I don’t think he [Antonio] is too bad; we are just being careful with him and he is a concern for Sheffield United but hopefully [he will be fit]. We will see in the next few days.”
Losing Yarmolenko for any lengthy period of time will not be a blow felt as hard at West Ham as the potential loss of Antonio or Ogbonna, but a blow nonetheless and one that presents Moyes with an opportunity to promote Holland into the senior fold.
The Irons do have options in the wide roles with Yarmolenko only the back-up for Jarrod Bowen, who may now be covered by Pablo Fornals, winter loan signing Jesse Lingard or even full-back Ryan Fredericks who has featured there in previous matches.
Yet Holland should not be ignored, having been named in the east London outfit’s updated 25-man Premier League squad for the remainder of the 2020/21 season.
Holland remained at the London Stadium after the January transfer window having seen potential loan moves fall through, despite Hammers insider ExWHUemployee suggesting he was set to leave with Oxford United and Hull City at points leading the race for his signature.
Now, Moyes can look to afford the 2019/20 Young Hammer of the Year greater first-team opportunities after leaving the 22-year-old an unused substitute in the FA Cup win over Stockport County last month, in what was his only first-team involvement thus far this term.
Injury has played its part in Holland only making one Under 23 outing this season with the Manchester-born winger ruled out for nine-months across 2020, but he is now fit once again and feeling stronger than ever.
When better, then, to see if the former England U20 international is ready to build only his only West Ham first-team start, having enjoyed a taste of senior football while on loan with Oxford United for the latter half of the previous campaign and scoring three goals in 12 games.
Goals or assists have never been an issue for the youngster having netted 19 times and created a further 18 in 50 U23s outings, and now should be the time to see if those numbers can translate into the senior fold at the London Stadium.