Five Talking Points - International Break

The big subjects for discussion during the September international break as West Ham United prepare to host Watford in the Premier League on Saturday...

A valuable experience

He may have tweeted his disappointment after not appearing against Slovakia on Sunday, but when Michail Antonio looks back on his first England squad experience, he should consider it a positive one.

A year ago, Antonio had yet to make a Premier League appearance for West Ham United following his deadline day move from Nottingham Forest.

Less than a year later, he has established himself at the Hammers and earned his first senior England call-up, spending a week working and living alongside the country’s best players.

He may not have played, but Antonio will have learned a lot from the experience alone, and that can only benefit him and his Club.


Adrian’s chance?

An article similar to this one published on the Spanish National Team’s Official website has speculated that Adrian may be handed a Spain debut in Monday’s opening 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier with Liechtenstein.

Like Antonio, the West Ham United goalkeeper was pleasantly surprised to be called-up by his country for the first time.

Now, new Spain coach Julen Lopetegui has suggested the No1 spot is up for grabs, and Adrian may be given a chance to stake his claim for it in Leon.

Competition for places

Saturday’s Premier League visit of Watford will offer manager Slaven Bilic plenty of food for thought when it comes to team selection.

The arrivals of Simone Zaza and Alvaro Arbeloa and the returns from injury of Manuel Lanzini, Dimitri Payet and Sofiane Feghouli mean competition for places is at a seasonal high.

Does Bilic go with Arbeloa or Sam Byram at right-back? Does he stick with Havard Nordtveit or go with a more attacking central midfield pairing? Does he put Lanzini, Payet and/or Feghouli back in the starting XI and, if so, where?

It all adds up to an eagerly-anticipated team announcement come 2pm on Saturday!


Edimilson on target

On signing for West Ham United, new boy Edimilson Fernandes told how he is ‘a player capable of getting the game going and adding excitement to the action on the pitch’.

One view of his thumping goal for Switzerland U21s in their 3-0 European Championship qualifying win over Kazakhstan on Friday evening confirmed that self-assessment!

Fernandes may be just 20, but he has the experience and all-round game to make his mark in the Premier League. If he scores goals like his 25-yard rocket for his country, that mark could be made sooner rather than later.


Judging by the reports coming out of Rush Green, and the video clips which have been posted on social media in recent days, Simone Zaza is looking sharp!

The Italy international was not named in the Azzurri squad for the current round of international fixtures, having featured at Euro 2016.

For that reason, along with an eagerness to make his mark at his new club, Zaza could well zoom out of the blocks at the former Olympic Stadium this weekend.