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West Ham’s punt on Jarrod Bowen turns into a solid investment | West Ham United

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IIt’s unlikely West Ham would have signed Jarrod Bowen had they decided to give Manuel Pellegrini another transfer window. Every attempt to convince Pellegrini to move to Bowen had fallen on deaf ears, with the Chilean insisting the winger wasn’t good enough for the Premier League, and the club’s recruitment department would likely have had to accept defeat if the board chose not to change. leaders at the end of 2019.

After all, West Ham were not the only top-flight side watching a talent whose performances for Hull had marked him out as one of the best strikers in the Championship. Crystal Palace and Newcastle also had Bowen on their radar and West Ham, who replaced Pellegrini with David Moyes, risked missing out as the January transfer window drew to a close.

Diligent when it comes to buying players, Moyes hadn’t had much time to figure out what his new team needed to avoid relegation. The Scot knew he needed more pace in attack, but he couldn’t make up his mind on Bowen. Could the youngster make an instant impact? Was he quick enough to get away from Premier League full-backs?

However, time was running out. Palace and Newcastle were making moves and other West Ham figures urged Moyes to act. The prevailing opinion at the London stadium was that signing Bowen would pay off and so, as the deadline approached, West Ham stepped in, agreed £22m with Hull and managed to complete the deal. deal just in time.

“We were drawn to the goals he scored over the years,” said Moyes, whose decision to take a risk on Bowen looks anything but wrong now. West Ham, who have gone from relegation contenders to Champions League contenders, can’t get enough of the 25-year-old’s relentless run, bending centers, team ethos and his thirst for goals.

West Ham’s punt on Jarrod Bowen turns into a solid investment |  West Ham United

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David Moyes believes his speedy winger Jarrod Bowen can also have an impact for England. Photography: Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

Bowen has established himself as one of the sharpest strikers in the top flight and even Moyes, who tends not to exaggerate when praising his players, agrees the former Hull man wouldn’t have the look out of place in the England team.

“When players come from the Championship you hope they will develop and Jarrod understood that very well,” said Moyes after Bowen’s brace helped West Ham beat Norwich 2-0 on Wednesday. “When you look at the competition for England – Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Jack Grealish, Jadon Sancho – it’s a decision for Gareth Southgate. But he’s getting close.

As Moyes admitted, it won’t be easy for Bowen to work his way into England’s plans ahead of the World Cup. The team is settled and Southgate has no shortage of options. Moyes didn’t even mention Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden and Emile Smith Rowe, who debuted in November; Bowen, to put it bluntly, may well be fighting a losing battle.

Still, the West Ham winger shouldn’t be dismissed. Bowen has been directly involved in 16 goals in all competitions this season (eight goals and eight assists), more than any other English Premier League player, and is a regular inspiration for Moyes’ side on the right flank .

“It’s about progressing,” Bowen said after scoring in West Ham’s 2-0 win over Leeds in the FA Cup last weekend. “Whether it’s assists or goals, those are the two main things you look at as a winger. Mo Salah is the perfect example of that, the goals he scores and the assists he provides. gets since joining Liverpool. He’s definitely the one I’m watching.

It turns out that Liverpool watched Bowen. Jürgen Klopp sees him as a potential replacement for Salah and could try to sign him this summer – not that West Ham, who are fourth ahead of hosting Leeds on Sunday, are likely to welcome offers for one of their strongest players. important.

Bowen, who helped West Ham reach the Europa League knockout stages, has become invaluable. His versatility allows him to play in the middle when Michail Antonio is absent, but he is at his best on the right side. Bowen’s left foot allows him to wreak havoc with inswinging crosses, he can be counted on to drop back to protect his full-back and he’s always ready to step into goalscoring positions, although his finishing could be at times more refined.

Moyes often talks about Bowen, who could have scored five against Norwich, needing to become more clinical. Still, part of Bowen’s appeal is that he never quits. He scores all types of goals – he beat taller defenders to open the scoring with a header against Norwich – and doesn’t drop a header when he misses easy chances.

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It’s not part of Bowen’s character to give up. As a teenager, he had an unsuccessful trial at Cardiff City and he went six months without pay during a stay at Hereford, which was strapped for cash at the time, but he refused to give up on his dream. Bowen continued to find ways to improve and that spirit, that refusal to turn around, is still with him now.

It doesn’t matter if people write it off: Bowen has fought his way to the top and his ascent is far from over.

West Ham’s punt on Jarrod Bowen turns into a solid investment | West Ham United

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