Saturday, May 20

Daily WHUFC News - 20th May 2017

Bilic - Rice could feature

Slaven Bilic says West Ham United's U23 captain Declan Rice could make his first-team debut at Burnley on Sunday. The manager revealed that, in the absence of Winston Reid, who underwent knee surgery this week, the Republic of Ireland U21 defender could be handed his senior bow at Turf Moor. With Reid absent and Angelo Ogbonna only recently returning to full training after recovering from his own knee surgery, the in-form Rice could be drafted into action. The 18-year-old began the campaign by impressing in pre-season fixtures with Seattle Sounders and Carolina RailHawks on the Club's US Tour before leading the Hammers' U23 side to promotion via a thrilling Play-Off victory at Newcastle United on Tuesday evening. "We're going to see," the managed began. "We have a game on Sunday and we have many injuries, but he's one of them that may play. He's in the squad. "Declan is very good for his age. He is extremely good, he is mature and it's all based on the training and he plays very well for the Under-23s. He has a bright future in him and it's all down to him. "He played a couple of games in the pre-season when we went to the States and we were missing a few players. I can see him being a really good player."

Bilic also gave a positive update on Reid, who returned to the Club's Rush Green training ground to commence his rehabilitation after undergoing surgery to remove a piece of bone from his knee. If all goes to plan, the New Zealander should be back for the start of the new Premier League season in August. "Reidy is good," the manager confirmed. "He has done the operation and he's going to be out for ten weeks, but he's going to be ready for the start of the new season. "He's done well. He can't play the last game of the season, of course, but he played with pain in the last few games so we decided to do the operation after the Liverpool game. "The operation was very successful and he will be back in ten weeks' time."

When asked for team news in his pre-match press conference, Bilic revealed that Andy Carroll will be unavailable for the trip to Lancashire as he is nursing an ongoing hip injury. "Andy has got that hip problem and because of that he hasn't played the last few games and, as I said, it was always 50-50 but he still feels it and it's not improving," the manager confirmed. "He isn't training and he didn't train for a long time now, so it's impossible for him to play, of course."

Bilic will also be without Mark Noble (abdomen), Diafra Sakho (back), Michail Antonio (hamstring), Cheikhou Kouyate (wrist), Pedro Obiang (knee), Arthus Masuaku and Gokhan Tore (knee).

Cup Kings of Europe!

West Ham United 2 TSV Munich 1860 0
Sealey 69, 71
European Cup Winners' Cup final
Wednesday 19 May 1965, Wembley Stadium
Attendance: 100,000

West Ham United: Jim Standen, Joe Kirkup, Jack Burkett, Martin Peters, Ken Brown, Bobby Moore, Alan Sealey, Ron Boyce, Geoff Hurst, Brian Dear, John Sissons

TSV 1860 Munich: Petar Radenković, Manfred Wagner, Hans Reich, Wilfried Kohlars, Stevan Bena, Otto Luttrop, Alfred Heiss, Hans Küppers, Rudi Brunnenmeier, Peter Grosser, Hans Rebele

Twelve months on from lifting the FA Cup, West Ham United were back under the Twin Towers for the European Cup Winners' Cup final. Their opponents were the German Cup winners TSV Munich 1860, a fine side who had defeated US Luxembourg, FC Porto, Legia Warsaw of Poland and Torino of Italy. As so seldom happens in the pressurised atmosphere of a final, both teams produced their best, sending the capacity 100,000 crowd home drooling over their collective skill and endeavour. Described as a 'magnificent game' that was a 'triumph for West Ham and a triumph for the game of football', the showpiece was marked by 90 minutes of 'bold and imaginative' play by both sets of players. Ron Greenwood's Hammers, in particular, were irresistible. The Londoners created chance after chance. John Sissons missed an open goal, then hit the post. Geoff Hurst was twice denied by splendid saves from goalkeeper Petar Radenković. At the other end, Jim Standen was also called into action, saving acrobatically from Peter Grosser and Hans Kuppers. West Ham were the better side, however, and their superiority was rewarded twice in the space of three second-half minutes. Alan Sealey scored both, the first from Ronnie Boyce's pass and the second after Martin Peters knocked Bobby Moore's pass into his path four yards from goal. A little more than 20 minutes later and Moore was climbing the famous Wembley steps for the second time to raise a trophy for his team. Twelve months later, he would do so again, but that is another story altogether…

Award nominations for young Hammers

Domingos Quina and Marcus Browne have been nominated for the PL2 Player of the Season award
The Hammers pair have been impressive throughout the campaign and have both turned out for the first team this season
More recently, Quina has been regularly on Slaven Bilic's team's bench while Browne has been on loan at Wigan Athletic

Outstanding West Ham United U23 pair Domingos Quina and Marcus Browne have been nominated for the Premier League 2 Player of the Season award.

The duo have been in fine form for Terry Westley's team – who clinched promotion to Premier League 2 Division 1 earlier this week – over the course of this season, racking up 42 appearances between them in all competitions.

Both talents have also turned out for Slaven Bilic's first team this season, Browne having played 15 minutes for the Hammers in the UEFA Europa League away at Astra Giurgiu, while Quina was introduced as a sub in both ties against NK Domzale in the same competition.

The competitive debut came shortly after the Portuguese signed for the Club, just weeks after UEFA European Championship glory with his country's U17s during the summer.

Quina also enjoyed a London Stadium bow in West Ham's opening ceremony of their new home, as Serie A winners Juventus travelled to east London for the famous afternoon.

But it was in the PL2 team Quina flourished, becoming a key player in the heart of the side's midfield and he was subsequently nominated for the October Player of the Month award.

A month later, the midfielder signed his first professional contract, putting pen to paper on a deal to keep at the Club until at least 2019.

Quina scored his first goal in Claret and Blue against Wolves in October, before bagging one of the Club's best goals of 2016/17, lobbing Leicester City's goalkeeper away from home in the Premier League Cup from just inside the hosts' half.

Recognised for his superb displays, the 17-year-old was named on the first team bench eleven times in the Premier League, and will be hoping for another opportunity against Burnley at Turf Moor on Sunday.

After a highly-impressive first half of the campaign for the U23s, Browne – who scored three goals and made three others for the youngsters – was the subject of much interest from clubs in the Football League and moved on loan to Championship side Wigan Athletic in January.

The attacker only made one appearance for the Latics, coming on as a substitute against Manchester United in the FA Cup at Old Trafford in late January, though 19-year-old was on the bench on a further three occasions for the side.

His three goals – against Newcastle and two against Norwich – were of huge importance to the Hammers this season and Browne's terrific form was capped with a December Premier League 2 Player of the Month nomination.

The forward's excellent 2016 was also rewarded earlier this year as he put pen to paper on a new three-and-a-half-year-deal.

The Premier League 2 Player of the Season nominations were voted for by managers of opposing clubs, and the two Hammers have joined nine others on the shortlist.

Hammers take up Adrian option

Slaven Bilic has confirmed that West Ham United have activated a two-year option in Adrian's contract. The Club have activated a clause to keep the goalkeeper, who has kept six clean sheets in 15 Premier League appearances and earned his first Spain call-up this season, in east London until summer 2019. Manager Slaven Bilic confirmed the news in his pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday's season finale at Burnley, where the No13 will seek to keep his fourth clean sheet in five matches since being recalled to the starting XI. "Adrian was out of contract but we have an option and we activated that option and we are happy with him, of course," said Bilic.

Seville-born Adrian has become a fans' favourite since joining the Hammers from his hometown club Real Betis in summer 2013. Since then, the goalkeeper has twice been voted Hammer of the Year runner-up, amassed 105 Premier League appearances and kept 29 top-flight clean sheets. He also became a Boleyn Ground folk hero by scoring a dramatic shootout penalty in the FA Cup third round replay victory over Everton in January 2015. Following those impressive displays, Adrian put pen to paper on a new two-year deal back in October 2015 including a two-year option to extend, which has now been activated. When asked, Bilic also confirmed that former Spain full-back Alvaro Arbeloa is out of contract and will depart east London this summer. "It is a different situation with Arbeloa; he came for one season and his contract is up now," the manager added.

Both Sides of the Fence - Matt Taylor

Five years after he played a key role in our Championship Play-Off final victory over Blackpool at Wembley, popular midfielder Matt Taylor talks exclusively to about that memorable day and reflects on his spells with both West Ham and our opponents in Sunday's final Premier League match of the season, Burnley…

West Ham will be keen to ensure Burnley don't climb above them on Sunday.
There are almost three leagues within the Premier League. You've got the top six or seven, then a group of teams from eighth down to 16th who are extremely close, followed by those in the relegation battle right at the bottom. The league is fiercely competitive, the margins are so fine, and obviously there are clubs in that middle section who will be hoping to move up two or three places with a win on Sunday and earn some more prize money. So both teams will be wanting to play well and the players will have personal pride, even though there isn't a great deal riding on the game.

I've seen quite a bit of West Ham this season.
It's obviously been a tough year, at a time when expectation among the fans was probably as high as it has been for a long time. Compared to last season it has been relatively disappointing in terms of the league finish, but I think there is a lot to look forward to for West Ham. The club is stable financially, you have a fantastic manager in charge, and some very good players. I'm sure Slaven Bilic will be looking to add some more quality to the squad in the summer and I would love to see them kick on next season and give the fans the success that they crave.

That Play-Off victory at Wembley five years ago is a day I will never forget.
The remit for Sam Allardyce that year was to get the club back into the Premier League at the first attempt. Being honest, we really should have gained automatic promotion, but that doesn't take away from the fact that it was a fantastic day at Wembley and that ultimately we achieved. Again, we were a bit fortunate on the day against Blackpool – they had chances and probably played a bit better than us – but we managed to get over the line and it was a fantastic end to what was overall a successful season for us.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at West Ham.
The only disappointing aspect for me was the calf injury that I suffered in our first season back in the Premier League and couldn't shake off. It dragged on for far longer than it probably should have. We sought the opinion of many specialists around the world and eventually managed to sort it out, but I missed a chunk of my time there and that was disappointing. Before I signed for West Ham, I was slightly naïve and didn't actually realise how big the club was. We were sold out every week in the Championship, which is testament to the wonderful fans West Ham have. The board have also backed their managers financially every year, and we bought some very good players during my time there.

I had two eventful years at Burnley but it ended in memorable fashion with promotion in 2016.
I suffered an Achilles injury just four games into my first season and that kept me out for almost the entire campaign, which ended in relegation. The following year, though, we bounced back and I enjoyed my third promotion from the Championship, following Portsmouth in 2003 and West Ham in 2012. Burnley have made fantastic strides in recent years. They have a model that works – for one they have stuck with the manager, and Sean Dyche has a very good continuity in place. He is very much in charge of that football club, and with the infrastructure they have put in place there, they are a proper Premier League football club now, which is wonderful to see.

I'm now enjoying my summer break after a great year with Northampton.
I played nearly 50 games in all competitions throughout the season, which I'm very proud of and grateful for. I'm 36 in a few months' time and, when you get older, you appreciate more that your career isn't going to last forever. I'm back in my home town now with my wife and three children, which is massive for me at this stage of my life. The kids are 11, nine and five, so life is very busy but very rewarding, and I am probably enjoying my football now more than I have done in a long time. You look at it differently, it's at a level that I am comfortable with, and football has afforded my family a lifestyle we could only ever of dreamed of, so to continue playing at my age is brilliant. I have signed for another year with Northampton, which is a great club that is really moving forward, and I've still got the hunger and drive, so I'm already looking forward to pre-season!

I will play for as long as I feel able to but I have already started making plans for the future.
Everybody I speak to tells me to play on for as long as possible, but I think it is important to have an idea of your long-term path. I've completed my initial coaching badges, which I started when I was at West Ham, because I came across so many players who were coming to the end of their careers but hadn't put any plans in place, and I didn't want to be in that boat. The application for the Pro Licence has gone off, so I will find out probably next season if I have been accepted on that. I'm also doing quite a bit of media work with various broadcasters, which I really enjoy, and that is something I might focus more on. But it's about keeping your options open – football is one of the most volatile businesses in the world – and for the moment I just want to concentrate on trying to enjoy playing next season as much as I did last season.

Follow Matt Taylor on Twitter - @Official_MattT

Life on Loan - Josh Cullen

On Saturday 20 May, Josh Cullen will turn out for Bradford City against Millwall at Wembley in the League One Play-Off Final for a place in the Championship ahead of the 2016/17 season.

The midfielder, who has been on loan with the Bantams from West Ham United this season, was recently voted Players' Player of the Season at Valley Parade on the back of a shining campaign that has seen him represent Stuart McCall's men no less than 45 times so far.

There were also three more awards for Cullen after his season of eye-catching displays, including the club's Social Media Player of the Year accolade.

But no prize for the Republic of Ireland U21 international was more rewarding than Bradford's Semi-Final two-legged victory over Fleetwood Town, secured thanks to Rory McArdle's first-tie strike a fortnight ago.

And now, Bradford City – one game away from restoring their second tier status – are relying on the likes of Cullen to fire them to Wembley glory over south Londoners Millwall.

Several weeks ago, Cullen invited West Ham TV up to Yorkshire to come and see how he was getting on with the Bantams.

'We need to give everything'

Slaven Bilic says West Ham United will 'give everything' to win a game that could be worth up to £9.5m in extra prize money on Sunday.

The Hammers head to Burnley for their final Premier League fixture knowing victory could see them finish as high as eleventh in the table, earning £19m in the process. However, defeat at Turf Moor could see West Ham finish as low as 16th, which would result in the Club receiving just £9.5m.

With so much at stake, Bilic has urged his injury-hit squad to go above and beyond to end the season on a high in Lancashire.

"It's the last game of the season and we can still improve our position," he began. "We have injuries and all that, but we need to give everything to try to win the game and finish in the best-possible way, so it's a very important game for us.

"The players should be motivated by themselves, because it's the Premier League and it's the last game of the season. It's 90 minutes that is also going to affect the season and our finishing position.

"The last game is always the last memory you have of the season, so I'm expecting the players to be like that. I'm certainly very, very motivated for this game. We want to finish on a positive."

Bilic will be without a few of his most influential players at Burnley, with captain Mark Noble, vice-captain Winston Reid and Andy Carroll all injured, but the manager believes the likes of James Collins and Jose Fonte can lead the Hammers to victory over Sean Dyche's men.

"We have leaders in our team and good vocal players and also have a good core of, let's say, 'British' players who are leaders, plus some foreigners who were skippers at their previous clubs.

"They are also the reason why we made it in the difficult times. The reason we made is because when we needed to show that character before and during the game, we did it.

"We have the people, starting with a great captain like Mark Noble, we have Collins, Reid and Carroll and also big players like Fonte who was Southampton captain for long enough in the Premier League that we can also call him 'British' or whatever, and a few more."

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Bilic was also asked about the possibility of bringing in new recruits this summer, with the Club being linked with a host of big-name Premier League players in the press in recent days and weeks.

While he would not comment on speculation surrounding individuals, the manager conceded that he will be looking to add quality rather than quantity to his squad during the upcoming transfer window.

"We don't need squad players because we have been without up to eight players in recent weeks and we've still fielded a decent team," he observed. "That shows we have a squad which is good, but we want to improve the quality in some of the positions.

"I am not going to talk about names now, but we are working on them and hopefully we're going to be successful in finishing those transfers for the targets that we want.

"Most of the players are linked in the papers with West Ham and, to be fair, the big majority of those rumours, there is no truth in them. We have our targets and we're going to try to get them."

Adrian targets treble celebration

Adrian is hoping to deliver a treble celebration.

Not only have West Ham United taken up a two-year option on the the Spanish goalkeeper's contract, but he also wants to help West Ham United sign-off the 2016/17 with a win at Burnley.

To complete a personal hat-trick, the 30-year-old is set to become a father for the second time before May is out.

That is because Adrian and wife Tamara are looking forward to welcoming a baby brother for 18-month-old Enzo into the world later this month – but not before the No13 has inspired the Hammers to victory at Turf Moor.

"We will be four in one or two more weeks!" he smiled. "This holiday will be very busy because my second child is coming and I'm very excited to see him and all my family is already there in Seville waiting for this moment.

"It's a different holiday because I will spend all the time with my family, but I like my family time and I love being with my family, my friends, my wife and, soon, my two kids!"

While the birth of Adrian's second son is fast approaching, the stopper's successful recent return to the team means he would rather the Premier League season was not drawing to a close this weekend.

"Personally, I wish the season was not ending," he confirmed. "It was not my thinking at the start of the season [that I would lose my place in the starting XI], but this is football and I've come back into the team in the last few games to help my teammates and to get some more points.

"We got three clean sheets in a row, so my comeback to the team was great for me to get more confidence and also to get the confidence of my teammates and the fans, who were helping me and supporting me.

"Of course I'm looking forward to playing in the last game, then we will think about the future."

Focusing on Sunday's trip to Turf Moor, Adrian is wary of the threat posed by a Burnley side which has collected 82.5 per cent of its points at home – 33 out of 40.

A win would not only dent the Clarets' proud record, but also ensure West Ham finish no lower than eleventh in the Premier League table at the end of a rollercoaster 2016/17 campaign.

"We have to give our best until the final whistle of the season blows," he confirmed. "It has been a bad season for us and we have struggled for consistency but, at the end of the day, we want to finish as high as possible, in eleventh place. We need the three points to get this position.

"Burnley have had a good season for them. They have got their Premier League position for next year and now they are, more or less, in our situation because we are very close in the table.

"We need to be very careful with them because they are at home and they want to win their last game in front of their fans and enjoy until the end, so we want to go there to try to get these points and make our finish a happy one."


We profile five players who have turned out for both West Ham United and Sunday's hosts Burnley...

1. Herman Conway

Born in Lincolnshire in October 1908, goalkeeper Herman Conway was one of a number of Hammers to begin his career with Midland League club Gainsborough Trinity.

Among the other West Ham United players to turn out for Trinity were George Gresham, Joe Cockroft, Stan Foxall Freddie Fenton and William Ingham.

Conway became Gainsborough's regular first-team stopper in March 1929 before joining Burnley a year later.

After four years and 81 Football League appearances in the top two divisions, Conway joined West Ham in 1934, making his debut against his former club at the Boleyn Ground on 27 August.

The stopper totalled 127 Second Division and FA Cup appearances over five seasons prior to the outbreak of World War Two.

2. Jack Tresadern

Leytonstone-born left-back Jack Tresadern began his career with non-league Wanstead and Barking Town before joining the Hammers in July 1913.
West Ham United were then a Southern League side, but the defender remained with the Club throughout the World War One and started the Hammers' third Football League fixture at Lincoln City on 6 September 1919.

Tresadern was a first-team regular for the next four seasons, totalling 130 Second Division appearances.

In 1922/23, he helped West Ham to win promotion and appeared in the FA Cup final defeat by Bolton Wanderers at Wembley.

The full-back joined Burnley in October 1924 and played 22 league games for the Clarets in the First Division before ending his career with Northampton Town.

3. Matt Taylor

Still going strong with League Two club Northampton Town at the age of 35, Oxford-born Matt Taylor has enjoyed a successful career at the highest level.

After coming through the ranks at Luton Town, Taylor helped Portsmouth win promotion to the Premier League for the first time in 2003.

There, his expert left-foot delivery and penchant for scoring spectacular goals made him a favourite, and he continued to impress during four seasons with Bolton Wanderers.

Taylor joined West Ham United following relegation in 2011 and set up Carlton Cole's opening goal in the Championship Play-Off final in May 2012.

After three seasons and 90 appearances, he moved to newly-promoted Burnley in 2014, but suffered relegation a year later.

He joined Northampton in summer 2016 and made 48 appearances this season, scoring eight goals.

4. Reg Attwell

Born in Shropshire, Reg Attwell joined West Ham United from non-league Denaby United during the 1937/38 season.

The wing half made his debut at Sheffield United in April 1938, but did not play again before the Second World War, during which he served in the Army.

After guesting for Leeds United and Burnley, he returned to the Hammers and played four more Second Division games in autumn 1946 before joining the Clarets on a permanent basis.

After winning promotion in his first season at Turf Moor, Attwell helped Burnley settle into life in the First Division over the next eight seasons.

After scoring eleven goals in 269 matches, he moved to Bradford City for the 1954/55 season before retiring at the age of 35.

Attwell passed away in Burnley at the age of 66 in December 1986.

5. Zavon Hines

An Academy of Football graduate, Zavon Hines was loaned to Coventry City in 2008, where he made his senior debut under Chris Coleman in March of that year.

On returning to West Ham United, Jamaica-born Hines scored on his debut in a League Cup win over Macclesfield Town in August 2008.

Fifteen months later, his headline moment arrived in the shape of a last-minute Premier League winner against Aston Villa at the Boleyn Ground.

However, injury issues led him to depart east London in 2011, having made 31 appearances and scored three goals.

Hines joined Burnley in August 2011 and played 13 times in the Championship before embarking on a career that has seen him turn out for AFC Bournemouth, Bradford City, Dagenham & Redbridge and current club Southend United.

Written by Rob McCabe @bobbymac5

So with this rather challenging and turbulent land mark season coming to an end on Sunday, we have a solid 3 months to entertain ourselves with everyone's favourite topic (or least favourite in some cases) transfers, and how we're going to re build our squad after what can only be described as a really disappointing season.

I think it's extremely important for the board to learn from 2 frequent mistakes we have made in recent years on various occasions.

1) Keep it quiet and get it done – Let's not tell the whole world how much we have to spend and who we want buy from the word go. Let this be up to us, the fans to speculate and discuss amongst ourselves and leave the business behind closed doors and up to the professionals as let's be honest, last summer promised so much and delivered as much disappointment as a wet fart, instantly getting our season off on a downer.

2) Buy sensible – Yes we have very occasionally taken overseas gambles that have paid off with the likes of Lanzini, Kouyate & Obiang but historically these have massively been outweighed by the absolute dross which comes in every window. This summer we need realistic targets with proven quality, goals, flair and positive premiership experience. This brings me on to some of the players we have already been linked to and who I would really like to see us try to bring to the club.

Strikers – In (2 of..)

Michy Batshuayi – Apparently top of our transfer list and one I see that is probably the most realistic. Chelsea apparently will let him go at the right price and he is also wanting game time. Personally I would love to see him come to us. He has power, pace, energy and has finished well when he's been given the chance. Chelsea are good at business and typically he's scored in both of his last 2 games which will keep his price tag up. I can't see him going for any less that £25m but I think he is worth the punt.

Joshua King – I like the Norwegian, like Michy he's strong, powerful and can finish. 16 goals this season in 36 matches. A very reasonable number and importantly Premiership experience and he's stayed fit for 36 games. I can't see him coming cheap though as Bournemouth won't want to see their main man leave. However at the right price which I'd imagine being in the region of £18m – £22m, could he be worth it? Though there's likely to be stiff competition from the likes of Everton, Spurs and other teams of that ilk.

Kelechi Iheanacho – Rumours popping up around this player. I rate him highly, always looks sharp and like he's going to score when he comes on, and his goals to shot ratio is frightening, let alone goals to games. I think he's worth £20m of anyone's money, however I'm sure all the big clubs will be looking at him across Europe's top leagues

Ciro Immobile – A bit random and a bit of an outsider. The 27 year old Italian international has scored 22 goals in 34 games for Lazio this season and I believe he would be a great fit for us. An exciting player with great positioning, intelligence and finishing ability. I can't see him being picked up by one of Europe's Elite and a move to the premier league could be tempting for him. There's not a lot of money in the Italian league so maybe £20m again could be enough.

Jermain Defoe – The more I think about it, the more I think why? Instantly I find myself comparing him to a young, extremely hot Spanish prospect… our very own Toni Martinez. Both are sharp, small, nippy and excellent finishers in and around the box, so why pay Jermain 100k a week at the age of 34 when we already have a young exciting prospect from our own academy who is banging them in for fun and both play very similar styles.
If we're not going to give them a chance then what is the point of our academy?

Andy Carroll – I think this season has proved we cannot play him as our main man for 90 minutes week in week out. However I think it is essential that we keep him. In my opinion he needs to be played off the bench and given between 20 to 35 mins a game. This is where he is most effective as he changes the whole dynamic of the game defensively as much as offensively. He puts the fear of god into defenders who are fatiguing from 70 minutes of play and realise they now have to deal with him. I'm sure now Andy would accept this position and prefer to be in the squad and around the first team for 30+ games a season rather than playing 4 games then being out of it for 2/3 months at a time. If come January it's the same old story with injuries then yes we should entertain offers.

Strikers – Out

I'm not going to waste our time with why these guys need to go as we all know exactly why.

Diafra Sahko – Always injured, shocking attitude, hefty salary.

Enner Valencia – Who? For some weird reason Everton are actually big fans of him and are apparently wanting to sign him on a perm. I don't care if it's for a fiver, I'll drive him up there myself.

Jonathan Calleri – A shame things didn't work out as he has all the attributes a top striker could want, apart from finishing, he cannot finish. He couldn't finish his dinner if it was fed through a straw.

Midfield – In

A difficult one. If fully fit, actually one of the best in the league. I would love to Obiang and Kouyate protecting the back 3 or 4 giving the rest of the lads freedom to play. I all honesty I have no names I could pick out who I would realistically like to come in and strengthen the team, I would however love to see a leader, someone physical who loves a tackle and will get the boys up for it. A player in mind would be Radja Nainggolan of Roma and Belgium, although probably out of our league if you have seen him play before you would know exactly why West Ham fans would love him.
I'd like to see Josh Cullen also given a run in the team. He's been Bradford City's star man this year and he could potentially be everything we've always wanted Mark Noble to be.

Midfield – out

Robert Snodgrass – I will never understand this signing, way over priced and too old. Hasn't offered anything to our team since arriving. I'd like to cut our losses and see him gone.

Havard Nordveit – Unfortunately he doesn't cut it for me. We have much better players in his position. Another example of an average squad filler rather than anyone actually bettering our squad.

Defence – In

Pablo Zabaleta – Looking most likely to be our new RB but I'm sure there's a long way to go before it can be finalised. Extremely experienced at the highest level, a very intelligent and respected man in football, we could do a lot worse and would be silly to turn our nose up at him. However he is not young and I would like to see a younger more athletic RB to join him and fight for his place.

Adam Smith – Bournemouth's RB, 26 years old, technically very good, athletic and a good age. He's also had a lot of experience playing in the premier league already he could be the perfect answer to shoring up our defence whilst giving a good option going forward. I'd hazard a guess at a value of between £8m – £12m

Reece Oxford, Reece Burke & Declan Rice – I would like to see these boys given more of a chance next season. They obviously all have real quality and with Reid's injury proneness and Collins & Fonte's age I feel they could be perfect cover.

However all the above are just my opinions, I'm sure there are many more players out there who would fit nicely into our team and let's just hope we find a couple.

Burnley v West Ham United
Venue: Turf Moor


Burnley will assess centre-back Michael Keane, who has missed their last two games because of a calf injury. Fellow defender Ben Mee is also doubtful with a shin problem.

West Ham are without centre-back Winston Reid, who has undergone surgery to treat a knee injury, so 18-year-old Declan Rice may deputise.
Fellow defender Angelo Ogbonna, who returned to the match-day squad last weekend after three months out, is also available but lacks match fitness. The Hammers' lengthy injury list also includes Mark Noble, Cheikhou Kouyate, Andy Carroll, Michail Antonio, Pedro Obiang, Diafra Sakho and Arthur Masuaku.


Alistair Man: "There is little doubt which of these sides has achieved their pre-season target. "Having booked a second successive campaign amongst the game's elite for the first time since the 1970s, the mood at Turf Moor will rightly be jubilant. "An impressive 11th home win in front of their own supporters could see Burnley finish as high as 11th, leapfrogging West Ham in the process. "Even a victory won't propel the Hammers into the top half of the table - a position which seemed a minimum expectation after their seventh-place finish a year ago. "Messrs Dyche and Bilic are certain to feel contrasting emotions as they reflect upon the rigours of the last 12 months."



West Ham manager Slaven Bilic: "[It has been a] very difficult season for us and the teams around us. We plan to do better but considering everything we have achieved the minimum goal and I have to praise the players for that. "We have had our ups and downs, bad moments at the beginning of the season [and in] March, when we lost five games. Basically every time we have been one game away from trouble we have reacted well."


West Ham are not a bad side when everyone is fit but, if they want a repeat of their seventh-place finish in 2015-16, they definitely need to sign some better players. Burnley's target this season was to stay up and they have done it. It is mission accomplished and they can build again, which is great.

Prediction 2-0



West Ham have won their last four games against Burnley in all competitions.
Burnley's only home win against the Hammers in the last 39 years came in a Premier League fixture in February 2010.


Sean Dyche's side have won just two of 15 league and cup games since the end of January, losing eight times.
They have claimed 10 Premier League home victories this term - only six teams have better records.
Should Burnley win this game, their total of 36 points at home would be the joint-third highest by a newly promoted side in a 38-game Premier League season. The record is held by Ipswich and Charlton, who both claimed 38 points at home in 2000-01.
Burnley won their final game in each of their two previous Premier League seasons, although on each occasion they had already been relegated.
Sam Vokes has scored four goals in his last four Premier League games, after netting just five times in his first 58 top-flight appearances.

West Ham United

Defeat by Liverpool last weekend ended West Ham's five-match unbeaten run (W2, D3).
They have scored 26 away league goals this season - no team outside the top six has a better record.
The Hammers have dropped 22 points from winning positions this term, more than any other Premier League side.
West Ham have lost their final game of the season in each of their last three Premier League campaigns, with each match coming away from home.

Josh Cullen: EFL Young Player award for Bradford's on-loan West Ham midfielder
By Nathan Middleton
BBC Sport

You know as a footballer that the fans have taken to you when you get your own chant, but Bradford City's on-loan midfielder Josh Cullen has a pretty unique one. Sung to the tune of "Achy Breaky Heart" by Billy Ray Cyrus, the 21-year-old is compared favourably to France legend Zinedine Zidane in the chorus by the Bantams faithful. We've got Cullen, Joshua Cullen, I just don't think you understand. We got him from West Ham, he's better than Zidane. We've got Joshua Cullen.
His form has not just been noticed on the terraces, as the Republic of Ireland Under-21 man has won the the EFL's Young Player of the Month award for April. "It's nice to hear that from the stands, but the main thing is the result and playing for the team," Cullen, who is on loan at Bradford from West Ham, told BBC Sport. "It's another one you dream of, a bit of a surreal feeling as a young player hearing it. "It is a good feeling but I think you've got to try to blank that out as much as possible - obviously you appreciate the support, but when it comes to business you focus about what is happening on the pitch. "It's obviously a bit far to say I'm better than Zidane, but it's a good feeling to have that support from the fans and I can only say thank you to them."
After joining Bradford on loan towards the end of last season, Cullen has spent the whole of 2016-17 with the League One club. "I can't thank everyone at the club and the surrounding area enough to make me feel welcome and making sure that everything is ok with me on and off the pitch," he added. "It's the first time I've been away from home for a long period of time and it's been brilliant."

His final appearance for Bradford before returning to the Premier League club for pre-season will be the League One play-off final against Millwall at Wembley on Saturday. The Bantams, who lost at the the semi-final stage to the Lions last season, are looking to return to second-tier football for the first time since 2004. "It would be silly of me to say this is not a massive game - probably one of the biggest in my career to date," he said. "I'm looking forward to the occasion without getting too carried away - you've got the play the game and treat it as a normal game. If we do that, hopefully we won't go too far wrong. "When you're a young lad running around in the garden it's one of the stadiums you dream of playing at. It's the first time I've played there and hopefully the first of a few times."

Cullen made his debut for West Ham against FC Lusitans in the Europa League in July 2015 and made four outings for the Hammers, including one substitute appearance in the Premier League. He played for England's youth teams growing up, but switched his allegiance to Republic of Ireland and has featured for their Under-18, Under-19 and Under-21 sides. The boyhood West Ham fan wants to make his mark at his parent club, but would not rule out a return to West Yorkshire. "At the minute my main focus is to get into the West Ham first team - that is what the whole loan has been about," added Cullen. "The main goal for me, and my dream growing up, is to play for West Ham and that is still what I'm striving to achieve."

Lanzini named in Argentina squad
Filed: Friday, 19th May 2017
By: Staff Writer

West Ham United midfielder Manuel Lanzini has been called up to the Argentina squad for the forthcoming friendlies against Brazil and Singapore. The in-form yet uncapped Hammer, seen below featuring for the Under 20s in 2013 receives his first call up for the senior squad from new head coach Jorge Sampaoli and is set to feature in the June 9 and June 13 fixtures, to be played in Melbourne and Kallang respectively.

The full squad is as follows:

Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (Manchester United), Nahuel Guzman (UANL Tigres), Geronimo Rulli (Real Sociedad)

Defenders: Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City), Emanuel Mammana (Olympique Lyonnais), Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Gabriel Mercado (Sevilla)

Midfielders: Eduardo Salvio (Benfica), Lucas Biglia (Lazio), Guido Rodriguez (Tijuana), Leandro Paredes (AS Roma), Ever Banega (Inter Milan), Manuel Lanzini (West Ham United), Angel Di Maria (Paris Saint-Germain)

Forwards: Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain (both Juventus), Mauro Icardi (Inter Milan), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Alejandro Gomez (Atalanta), Joaquin Correa (Sevilla)

Burnley v West Ham preview: Winston Reid ruled out after knee surgery
Last Updated: 19/05/17 6:26pm

Burnley will look to put a gloss on what's been successful Premier League season when they host West Ham United on Sunday. Sean Dyche's men were odds-on for relegation at the start of the campaign but survived with a little bit to spare after an impressive campaign based around their strong home form. The Clarets have won 33 points at Turf Moor this season, which is a higher home return than Manchester United. This will be their best league finish in 42 years, since coming 10th in the top flight 1974-75 and they could finish as high as 11th with a victory. Meanwhile, West Ham have won just two of their last 13 Premier League games and have scored just once in their last four games, although that came in a 1-0 win over Tottenham. Following what's been a mediocre season, Slaven Bilic's future is reportedly becoming unclear at the club.

Team news

Michael Keane could return for Burnley's final Premier League game of the season. The England defender, who has been linked with a big-money move away from the club, has returned to training after missing the last two games with a knock. Dyche is set to be without Ben Mee, who is still struggling to shake off a shin problem.

Winston Reid will be missing for West Ham. The New Zealand international has undergone season-ending surgery on a chronic knee injury which he has played with for the past few weeks. Manager Bilic confirmed that Reid will be sidelined for up to 10 weeks as he begins his rehabilitation, with youngster Declan Rice likely to deputise. Hammers skipper Mark Noble has also had surgery on an abdominal complaint and will miss Sunday's clash at Turf Moor. Cheikhou Kouyate (wrist), Andy Carroll (groin), Michail Antonio (hamstring), Pedro Obiang (ankle), Diafra Sakho (back), Angelo Ogbonna (knee) and Arthur Masuaku (foot) are all set to miss out.

Opta stats

Burnley have won just two of their last 14 league contests against West Ham (D3 L9), losing each of their last three.

The Hammers have won each of the last two encounters 1-0, thanks to goals from Mark Noble, though both games were at home.

The Clarets only home victory in their last six home contests with West Ham came in the Premier League in February 2010, with David Nugent and Daniel Fox bagging the goals.

Burnley have won each of their two final day games in the Premier League, however, in both seasons (2009-10, 2014-15) they were already relegated.

West Ham have lost the last game of the season in each of their last three Premier League campaigns, with each match coming away from home and the Hammers just scoring once.

Thirty three of Burnley's 40 Premier League points this season have come at Turf Moor (83%).

Should Burnley win this game, their 36 points total at home in the Premier League this season would be the joint-third highest by a newly promoted side at home in a 38-game PL season.

Despite playing his last Premier League game on January 2nd, Dimitri Payet will end the season as West Ham's most creative player in the competition this season (74) as the next best is Manuel Lanzini with 56 chances created for the Hammers.

Since Bilic took over as West Ham manager in the summer of 2015, the Hammers have lost a league-high 41 points from winning positions. They have also dropped the most in 2016-17 alone (22).

The injured Michail Antonio is West Ham's top Premier League goalscorer this season with nine goals. The last West Ham player to score more than 10 goals in a Premier League season was Bobby Zamora (11) in 2006-07, meaning the club will have gone nine successive seasons without one of their squad scoring more than 10 times in the competition.

Merson predicts

West Ham got well beaten by Liverpool and Burnley were poor against Bournemouth but I can see them winning this. West Ham now have got nothing to play for, they used their cup final the other week against Tottenham.

Burnley have got to be careful next year. If they don't have as good of a home record as they have done next season and they don't sort out their away form, I think they could struggle.

PAUL PREDICTS: 2-0 (10/1 with Sky Bet)


Burnley are priced at 7/5 to finish the season with a win, West Ham are at 19/10 and the draw is 12/5 with Sky Bet. Andre Gray and Sam Vokes are seen as the most likely to score first at 5/1 apiece, while for the away side Ashley Fletcher and Jonathan Calleri are at 6/1. The Clarets are priced at 5/4 to be relegated next season, while it's 7/4 for the Hammers to achieve a top-half finish.

What could your Premier League club earn on the final day of the season?

Burnley v West Ham

Burnley - Currently 15th, can move to 11th if they beat West Ham, Leicester lose and Crystal Palace and Stoke City fail to win. That's a gain of £7.6m, but a potential loss of £3.8m if they drop two places to 17th, which will happen if Watford and Swansea win and the Clarets lose.

West Ham - Currently 12th and unlikely to move up to 10th but can move up to 11th and earn £1.9m if they beat Burnley and Leicester don't beat Bournemouth at home. West Ham can also drop to 16th, a potential loss of £7.6m, if Palace, Stoke, Burnley and Watford all win and the Hammers lose.

Slaven Bilic column: This season has been the perfect storm but West Ham will be the stronger for it
Evening Standard

When we face Burnley on Sunday, it will be the final game of a very tough season. I have not wanted to talk about it in detail before because it could have been interpreted as excuses and I don't like making those. However, now we can talk about reasons — not excuses.
It hasn't been a season to compare to the previous one, but it has been comparable to how West Ham used to be, before the club's plan to move up a level. The reality is that, apart from the top six or seven clubs, the next eight are very close and could be within a few points of each other, or even a few goals. Basically, West Ham have usually belonged in that group, although last season gave us the hope of making a step closer to the elite clubs. It hasn't happened, though, and the reasons are as follows.
First of all, we've had an unbelievable amount of injuries — not knocks or strains — but 10 players out for a minimum of two-and-a-half months. Because of that we didn't start well and particularly the new signings couldn't settle in the way we wanted.
Add to that the move to the new stadium. You can see what has happened to other clubs who have done it and how it affects them before they can feel the benefit. I have to say, though, that ultimately this is the best decision West Ham have ever made.
Basically, we had two 'black holes' this season: one at the beginning when we won just one of our first five Premier League games, then five successive defeats in March. So now I want to praise the players, because we came back twice following those crises.
Up to now I haven't mentioned the Dimitri Payet situation, but we should not forget that we lost not only our best player but one of the best in Europe. People can be angry at him but we should never forget how good he was for us. He is irreplaceable.
Considering everything, I believe this season has been priceless, in terms of building the character of the board, myself, the staff, the players, the cook, the kit man. It is much better after it finishes because it is not enjoyable but it has been invaluable.
If these things happen again, then you know you have been there already and you have a reference point. Naturally, we don't want this to happen again but we will be ready. You build your character in difficult times. Last season was easy because it was going so well, but this year we have had to draw on other things. I can say something else here for the first time. At times this season at West Ham it has seemed like the perfect storm. I have seen bigger clubs crumble under something similar but we didn't — we managed. That is why I have to say now, to the players, to the board, to the fans, to the staff — well done!
As for me, I love this club. I have sufficient confidence in myself to know I will always find work, but this is where I want to be.
I never thought about my job. The only thing I thought about was staying in this league because I would never have forgiven myself if we had gone down. Now, after this final game, we will try to improve the squad. We need quality, not so much quantity. A few players will go and some are not happy with the minutes they have played. We have to refresh our squad and improve our first XI. The injury situation also needs to be looked at and we will discuss all these things when I meet David Sullivan on Monday. Yes, it has been hard and exhausting at times but, as I have said, it has been priceless and I believe firmly that, after a rest, we will all benefit from this experience.

West Ham trigger option to extend Adrian's contract until 2019
By Lyall Thomas
Last Updated: 19/05/17 11:09am

West Ham have triggered the option to extend goalkeeper Adrian's contract until 2019, manager Slaven Bilic has confirmed. The 30-year-old signed on a two-year deal from Real Betis in 2015 that had the option of two further years, which the Hammers have taken.
But full-back Alvaro Arbeloa, who signed a one-year deal after his release from Real Madrid last summer, is set to leave the club with his contract expiring. Ahead of West Ham's final game of the season against Burnley on Sunday, Bilic said: "Adrian is out of contract but we have an option, and we activated that option. He is our player and we are happy with him. "Arbeloa is a different situation. He came for one season and his contract is out now. But of course I am going to discuss those things with the players, not with the press.
"We don't have to improve the squad. We don't need squad players. We want to improve the quality in some of the positions. "I'm not going to talk about names now. Most players are linked with West Ham in the papers. To be fair, the big majority of those rumours, there is no truth in them. But we have our targets and we are going to try to do them."
Bilic will be without first-choice centre-back Winston Reid for the trip to the Clarets, after he underwent surgery on an injured knee, with youngster Declan Rice set to replace him. "Winston is going to be out for 10 weeks but he'll be ready for the start of the new season," Bilic said. "We will make a decision (on who replaces him). Declan Rice is one of the players in the squad. He is very good for his age. He's played very well for the U23s. "He played a couple of pre-season games in the United States last summer. I think he's matured very well. There's a bright future for him, it's all down to him."

West Ham's Slaven Bilic crossing his fingers for another summer transfer market "jackpot" like Dimitri Payet
The Hammers moved faster than bigger clubs in summer 2015 to land Frenchman who gave them one brilliant season before being sold for twice what he'd cost
The Mirror
22:30, 19 MAY 2017

Slaven Bilic wants West Ham to strike transfer gold again this summer by signing another Dimitri Payet. The Hammers' boss admitted relief in his pre-match press conference that his club's roller-coaster campaign will come to a close at Burnley on Sunday. A poor summer transfer window was followed by troubles moving from their traditional Upton Park home to the controversial London Stadium, star man Payet 's January-window strike action and subsequent return to previous club Marseille. In his 18 months in East London, the maverick Frenchman provided West Ham's X-Factor for a bargain £10.5million, before his £25m sale back to the team they signed him from.
And now Bilic, who will be entering the final year of his three-year contract, is seeking a repeat of that success in what he knows is a crowded transfer market.
"Dimitri Payet it was like hitting the jackpot!" he said. "When it was done it was done in one week, like under cover or under the radar. "We did it before the big teams even started to think about it. Those kind of things are the best. But unfortunately now in football you can't count doing that every week. But it happened.
"Those players lift your whole team and your season. Then the clubs who do those kind of deals they usually finish high. But it's very difficult do do now. "I spoke this season after games with the managers and it was a surprise to me but most of the players that are on our list, they are on the list of a minimum of 10 other clubs. We are all aiming for, basically, the same names."

West Ham's search for a new striker has seem them linked this week with Manchester City prospect Kelechi Iheanacho, 20, and Sunderland's evergreen 34-year-old Jermain Defoe. "We are not looking for Griezmanns," Bilic added. "We would like them, but we are realistic. "Last year we tried to do something like that. We were in talks with (Lyon and France striker Alexandre) Lacazette, and maybe we spent too much time hoping. "We spent a lot of time on that, the board really tried and then it did not happen. Then we missed some No2 (options) and No3s."

Bilic insisted he will return "hungry and optimistic" for the new season - and with a new hip. "I'm really looking forward to doing it," he said. "It hasn't stopped me doing my job. I'm not a player. "I can still run on the pitch and get around. But I can't be a Beckham!"

* WEST HAM have activated an option to keep goalkeeper Adrian for another two years. His fellow Spaniard and ex-Real Madrid and Liverpool defender Alvaro Arbeloa will leave after making only three appearances all season.

Argentina changes point to the hand of Sampaoli
By Rex Gowar

Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi and West Ham United midfielder Manuel Lanzini were named on Friday in a squad from which Jorge Sampaoli is expected to pick his first Argentina team next month. Sevilla coach Sampaoli is set to take the vacant Argentina job after the Spanish season ends this weekend and likely to dramatically change the team's tactics. His first assignment as coach of his country's national team is a friendly against arch-rivals Brazil in Melbourne on June 9, followed by a visit to Singapore four days later. The tour will help him prepare for the run-in to the South American qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia in which Argentina have struggled, particularly in eight out of 14 matches without injured talisman Lionel Messi. Inter captain Icardi has been banging on the Argentina door since earning a first cap as a substitute in a World Cup qualifier against Uruguay in 2013, while the uncapped Lanzini has had a fine season in the Premier League. Icardi and Alejandro Gomez of Atalanta have both been courted by Italy but turned them down in the hope of playing for the country of their birth.

With Champions League finalists Juventus's attacking duo of Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala also included, Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero is a notable if not unexpected absentee after poor form in recent Argentina matches. The Argentine FA posted the squad on its official website without mentioning Sampaoli, who was confirmed last month by its president Claudio Tapia as their chosen candidate after they sacked Edgardo Bauza. Sampaoli, who has yet to sign a contract with the AFA, said on Friday he would see out his Sevilla tenure with Saturday's home match against Osasuna before taking a job he could not refuse. Sampaoli, a Copa America winner as Chile coach in 2015, had said previously he hoped to one day work with Messi and at the time Luis Enrique announced he was leaving Barcelona earlier this season was touted his successor. Now Sampaoli has the chance to show he can mould a team around the world's best player capable of winning a major trophy after Argentina finished runners-up in the 2014 World Cup and the 2015 and 2016 Copa America tournaments. The squad of 20 foreign-based players has only four defenders including Javier Mascherano but more are expected to be drafted in from the domestic league with Pablo Zabaleta another veteran dropped. Mascherano could be asked to take up the defensive duties for his country that he has become used to fulfilling at Barcelona often in a back three which Sampaoli tends to favour. Lanzini, Gomez and the recalled Eduardo Salvio of Benfica are midfielders set to be given a chance as Sampaoli looks for his trademark high tempo attack and pressing. Argentina are fifth in the South American qualifying group from which the top four qualify automatically and will go into a playoff against a team from the Oceania confederation if they remain there.

Odds SLASHED on Iheanacho swapping Man City for West Ham move this summer
The 20-year-old striker could be available this window
Football London
14:08, 19 MAY 2017

Bookies have started taking notice of the rumours that Kelechi Iheanacho could be a target for West Ham in the upcoming transfer window and the odds have dramatically tumbled. West Ham strikers have managed to bag just 14 goals between them all season long and we, the world and his wife know they are desperately looking to add firepower in the transfer window in the shape of at least one striker, if not two. Iheanacho's name started doing the rounds on Wednesday evening and now bookmakers Ladbrokes are getting in on the act. The 20-year-old is 5/4 make the Hammers his next club and you can get 13/8 on him making that move at some point this summer having scored 21 times in 63 games for Pep Guardiola's side. Everton are next up at 11/2, with Southampton 7/1 shots and Stoke are at 8/1 on offer for the Nigerian to join former Citizens boss Mark Hughes at Stoke City.

West Ham must make quality signings this summer, insists Slaven Bilic... 'We don't need squad players'
West Ham are 12th heading into their final match of the season against Burnley
They are considering making a £20m bid for Man City's Kelechi Iheanacho
Slaven Bilic refused to name any players the club will target this summer
Hammers boss announced the club had extended Adrian's contract by two years
By Olawale Kuponipe, Press Association
PUBLISHED: 12:41, 19 May 2017 | UPDATED: 12:42, 19 May 2017

Slaven Bilic has said West Ham must make high-quality signings after they were linked with Manchester City's Kelechi Iheanacho and Pablo Zabaleta. An indifferent performance this season at one stage saw Bilic's side flirt with the Premier League relegation zone.
Speculation over new recruits has begun ahead of their final game of the season against Burnley on Sunday, and Bilic says he wants players who will improve his team rather than merely add numbers to his squad. West Ham have recently been linked in media reports with City striker Iheanacho and full-back Zabaleta. The latter will be available on a free transfer after announcing he would end his nine-year spell at the Etihad Stadium. When the names of both players were brought up in his pre-match press conference, Bilic was adamant West Ham must only acquire new additions who will have an immediate impact. 'We don't need squad players,' the West Ham manager said. 'Take our last game against Liverpool. We were without eight players but still had a decent team so that shows that squad-wise, with the quantity of the players, we are okay. 'We would like to improve the quality in certain positions but I don't want to talk about names now. 'But hopefully we are going to be successful in finishing those transfers. Most of the players are linked with West Ham, the big majority of those are rumours, there's no truth in them.' West Ham great Sir Trevor Brooking backed the possible signing of Zabaleta this week, telling BBC 5 Live the Argentinian's leadership qualities would benefit the club. However, Bilic was adamant his current squad have enough leaders in the dressing room who have helped with overcoming difficult periods this season. 'We have leaders on our team,' Bilic said. 'We have good vocal leaders on our team and we also have a good core of British players who are leaders plus some foreigners who are skippers in their teams. 'They are also the reason why we made it in very difficult times. Every time that was difficult for us and we needed to show that character before a game, we did it. 'Starting with Mark Noble of course who is a great captain, (James) Collins, (Winston) Reid, (Andy) Carroll when he was there. Players like (Jose) Fonte who was captain of Southampton long enough in the Premier League, so we are good in that.'
Bilic said the club have activated an extension clause in goalkeeper Adrian's contract, which was due to expire this summer. The 30-year-old was demoted to second choice behind Darren Randolph following a dip in form, but the Hammers will keep the Spaniard on their books for an extra two years.

Chelsea still considering letting West Ham United target Michy Batshuayi go
John Verrall

West Ham United have been long-term admirers of Chelsea forward Michy Batshuayi. According to a report in the Telegraph, Chelsea are still considering selling Michy Batshuayi this summer - despite his goalscoring heroics recently. Batshuayi netted the title clinching goal, when he slid in to prod home against West Bromwich Albion last week. And the Belgian international backed up that display by scoring in his last Chelsea appearance against Watford. There were suggestions that Batshuayi's showings would have confirmed his place at Stamford Bridge next season.
Indeed, West Ham United fans appeared to believe that their chance of signing Batshuayi had ended (HITC). However, the Telegraph report that Antonio Conte has still not made his mind up over the striker. Batshuayi has barely featured for Chelsea this term, with most his appearances coming as a substitute. And there are still doubts over whether he could be a regular starter for the Blues. As a result, Chelsea are said to be considering offloading Batshuayi - offering hope to a list of potential suitors, including West Ham. Monaco are the latest side to be linked with Batshuayi, with the Telegraph suggesting that he could be used as part of a swap deal for Benjamin Mendy or Thomas Lemar.

Date: 19th May 2017 at 11:05am
Written by: Jay Williams

According to The Express and Star, Wolverhampton Wanderers are lining up a potential loan move for West Ham United striker Toni Martinez this summer. Toni Martinez is regarded as one of West Ham's brightest young talents and he could be available on loan next season despite West Ham fans calling for him to be included in the first team. The Spaniard joined West Ham last summer from Valencia, having scored over 100 goals for their youth sides over the past three seasons. Martinez had no trouble adjusting to life in England and he has scored 14 goals in 14 games for West Ham's under-23 side this year, including a brace in their 2-1 play-off final victory over Newcastle United. The 19-year-old spent some time on loan at Oxford United this season and scored goals against Newcastle United and Middlesbrough in the cup to really demonstrate his talent and potential. The Spain under-19 marksman is a natural finisher and he could be set for a loan spell to Championship side Wolves.

Full transcript as Bilic admits this season has not been enjoyable for him and West Ham
The boss faced the media ahead of a game for the final time this season
Football London
11:13, 19 MAY 2017

Slaven Bilic faced the media for the penultimate time this season as he held his final pre-match press conference of the season at Rush Green. The Hammers travel to Burnley on Sunday for the final game of what has been a testing campaign but West Ham can still finish as high as ninth in the league. Bilic talked about the continuing injury problems for Andy Carroll, whether Declan Rice has a shot at starting this weekend and what his thoughts on the season have been overall. Here is every single word the boss spoke during the broadcast section of questioning at Rush Green.

Winston Reid is good, he has had his operation but will be out for ten weeks. He can't play the last game of the season obviously but he played through the pain the past few games and we decided to get his operation done. It was very successful and he is going to be back in ten weeks time.

Declan Rice - could he start on Sunday?

We will see. We have many injuries, he is one of them in contention of playing and will be in the squad He is extremely good for his age, mature, has a good attitude for training and has played very well for the U23s, there is a bright future in him. He played a couple of games in pre-season and he has matured even more since then, he will be a very good player.

Andy Carroll - is he fit?

No. He has a hip problem and because of that he has missed the last few games. It was always 50-50 but it is not improving. He hasn't trained for a long time now.

20 points off last seasons total, how disappointing is that?

It's always very important, it's the last game. We can still improve our position but it's the last game, we have to try to win it and end well. It is of course a very important game to get as many points as we possibly can.

Sum up the season for us, Slaven?

Very difficult. Not only for us but the teams around us as well. The table shows that there are the big six clubs, then Everton, then five, six, seven all within three or four points of each other so it has been tough for all of us. Considering everything - the move, the injuries, the situation with some players, we have got that minimum goal and I have to praise the players for that.

In the crucial moments, in March when we lost five games, we bounced back and have done well. Every time we were, not in trouble but maybe one game away from it, we did really well.

Does there need to be a big improvement next season?

I can say that yes because if we stay out of injuries and if we improve out squad, we have settle into our new home, I am expecting us to benefit a lot from this season. You build your character individually and as a team when it gets tough so that's why I am optimistic ahead f next season.

Zabaleta, Iheanacho - any truth in those rumours?

We don't have to improve the squad, we don't need squad players. Our last game we were without eight players and still had a decent team so squad wise - quantity wise - we are ok. But, we would like to improve the quality in some of the positions. I won't talk about names now but we are working on them. Most of the players are linked with West Ham in the papers and to be fair, the big majority of those rumours are no truth at all. We have our targets and we will try to get them in.

Arbeloa and Adrian, what is their contract situation?

Adrian, he is back. We have an option and we activated it, he is our player and we are very happy with him. Arbeloa is a different situation, but I will discuss contracts with the players, not the press.

Reece Oxford - what are your plans for him?

I spoke to Reece a couple of days ago and with his agent, we will see. But for Reece it is a shame he didn't play much at Reading, they were already playing good and maybe it was a move too big for him, and for Reece and any young player it is to get match practice and to have a season where he can get competitive football week in, week out.

Favourite moment of the season?

Every win, every good performance, especially if the outcome was a win but if you ask me definitively? When we beat Spurs at home. That was the best moment of the season for me.

Retrospective diving bans, your thoughts?

I wouldn't say it's rubbish but we have to do all we can to stop diving and cheating. I am not sure about it though.

Have you enjoyed this season?

Make no mistake, I enjoyed last season more than this one. This one was not as enjoyable but you are also enjoying the tough times, we are benefiting more when it is going tough. It is not enjoyable during that period, sure, but when you look back at it, you definitely come out of it much more stronger not only as a manager, player, but as a tam.

That's one of the reasons why I am really optimistic for next season.

How important that Carroll has to play more next season (only 22 times this season)?

We spoke about this last year too. He is so valuable for us and has such a big impact on our game, he is very important. When he is not available, we feel it. The worst thing for the team and the manager is when you are counting on a player and suddenly he is not available for a lot of games. We had the same situation with [Diafra] Sakho, all season, so if you have those two names on paper for the start of the season, we are solid and have quality, goals, pace, presence and then suddenly, they are not there. It's not a good situation for us. I will never give up if you ask about Andy but that situation has to improve.

Does your team have a lack of leaders?

We have leaders, good vocal players. We have a good core of, lets say British players who are leaders plus foreigners who were skippers at other clubs, they are the reason we made it through the difficult times. When we needed to show character they did that.
We have people starting with Mark who is a great captain, Collins, Reid, Carroll and also Jose Fonte who was captain at Southampton. We are good in that area.

West Ham stars reveal Andy Carroll attempted bicycle kick FOUR times in training (and MISSED every time) just two days before Crystal Palace strike
West Ham transfer news: All the latest from London Stadium
West Ham players watch highlights of their season in Gogglebox style video
Andy Carroll's amazing bicycle kick goal vs Crystal Palace is widely discussed
Mark Noble and Aaron Cresswell say Carroll's goal was the 'best' they had seen
By Alex Martin For Mailonline
PUBLISHED: 19:03, 18 May 2017 | UPDATED: 00:11, 19 May 2017

Andy Carroll's stunning bicycle kick goal against Crystal Palace was no accident, according to his West Ham team-mate Michail Antonio.
The striker is a surefire bet to win the Premier League Goal of the Season after his sweet connection with Antonio's cross found the top corner of Wayne Hennessey's net. But, as Antonio revealed, Carroll had got in plenty of practice in training before the game, trying the unique skill no less than four times in a single session. Obviously saving his best for matchday, he missed every single time. Speaking during a promotional video with Betway Insider, Antonio said: 'He did it four times in training the day before... missed every single one. In response, Carroll says: 'The truth is I'd actually tried it in training on the Thursday and hit the post. After the game, the gaffer (Slaven Bilic) reminded me that practice makes perfect.' Defender Aaron Cresswell compared the strike to the similarly impressive 'Scorpion Kick' goals that Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Olivier Giroud had scored just days before, saying he believed Carroll's was the best. He said: 'I remember at the time Giroud and Mkhitaryan had scored in the same week, but if I had to pick a goal I'd pick Andy's.' During the Gogglebox-style video, players, celebrity fans and legends re-watched highlights from their first season at London Stadium, including their surprise win over Champions League finalists Juventus during pre-season.

James Collins names best forward he's faced and explains why you should never wind up Chelsea star Diego Costa
The Hammers defender is a big fan of Blues legend Didier Droga, who he says was "unplayable" on his day
The Mirror
17:06, 18 MAY 2017

West Ham defender James Collins has explained perfectly why you should never wind up Chelsea forward Diego Costa. He also revealed the best striker he has ever come up against is Blues legend Didier Drogba, who was "unplayable" on his day. Collins was reminiscing on the Hammers' season with Betway Insider, which you can see in the above video, and looked back on his side's EFL Cup win over Chelsea.
The 33-year-old was named on the bench for the 2-1 victory in the last-16 of the competition, but spoke about the danger of Costa in attack for Antonio Conte's men. The Brazilian is known for his temper on the pitch, and has been hit with a number of bans during his stay at Stamford Bridge. In 2015 he received a ban relating to an incident involving Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny. He was also banned for a stamp on Liverpool's Emre Can, and for a clash with Everton midfielder Gareth Barry. But despite demonstrating a lack of discipline at times, Collins believes his temper is beneficial, not a hindrance. "He's better if you wind him up though, you're better off not saying anything to him because if he gets angry he is on it," said the Welshman. Collins also spoke about the best striker he has ever come up against, saying: "Drogba, five/ten years ago, he was an animal on the pitch. "I say it all the time when people ask me 'who is the best centre forward you have ever played against from the Premier League?' "From 2005/2006 on his day he was unplayable."

West Ham to allow teenage stars Reece Oxford and Domingos Quina to leave on loan this summer
Reece Oxford and Domingos Quina will be allowed to go on a season-long loan
West Ham want the promising youngsters to gain more first-team experience
Oxford has spent the season on loan at Reading but has played just five games
Quina has made just two appearance in the Europa League for the Hammers
By Sportsmail Reporter
PUBLISHED: 16:19, 18 May 2017 | UPDATED: 16:19, 18 May 2017

West Ham will make promising teenagers Reece Oxford and Domingos Quina available on a season-long loan this summer. The duo are widely-recognised as two of the most promising young footballers in the country. Oxford, in particular, burst onto the scene in spectacular fashion last season, playing a key role on his full debut as West Ham defeated Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium at the start of last season. The 18-year-old is viewed as a future West Ham skipper and has also been tipped to captain England. Quina, 17, played in West Ham's Europa League qualifiers last summer and has been an unused substitute for Bilic this season. The youngster underlined his huge potential last year by playing a key role in Portugal's triumph at the European Under-17 championships. The FA, however, are hugely interested in recruiting Quina for England, despite his Portuguese origin. The Hammers view the duo as vital to their future first-team plans but are keen for the pair to gain regular first team action next season and will sanction loan moves. The loan deals will include break clauses which can be activated in the winter transfer window. It is understood the Hammers are keen to complete early deals this for Oxford and Quina this summer so they can have a full pre-season with their new clubs.


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