Fredericks: We've got top forward players at West Ham
Ryan Fredericks says Saturday’s ultra-competitive 2-2 draw at Preston North End was exactly the sort of test West Ham United require in pre-season.
The Hammers were pushed all the way by their Championship hosts, twice being pegged back by Alex Neil’s determined Lilywhites.
Fredericks, who faced Preston regularly during his time with Fulham prior to his summer move to West Ham, was not surprised by the home side’s committed approach.
You need top forward players and that’s what we’ve got
“They play in a way that puts a lot of pressure on your back four and they put a lot of balls in behind that you’ve got to go and chase,” he observed. “That’s what pre-season’s about, getting your fitness, and we definitely got that on Saturday.
“It was a tough game, but that’s how they play. I’ve played against them the last couple of seasons and that’s what they’re like, so I didn’t expect anything different.
“It was a good test and that’s what you want in pre-season.”
Fredericks himself put in a proper shift at Deepdale, racing up and down the right flank from his full-back position, combining with Andriy Yarmolenko in attack, winning a second half penalty and defending strongly against Preston’s direct style.
“I’m settling in really well. The lads are great here and I’ve got no complaints at all. It’s a massive club.
“I’m buzzing to be here, like I’ve said previously. I just want to use pre-season to get fitter and fitter and hopefully I can do the business on the pitch as well.”
An attack-minded right-back blessed with searing pace, Fredericks regularly popped up in the final third, with his combination play with Ukraine star and fellow new boy Yarmolenko a particular highlight of West Ham’s play.
“Yarmo is an exciting player. I think we complement each other quite well. He can go 1v1 and also come inside and link the play and I can get around him and leave him to do his bits 1v1.
“We’ve both got a bit of pace and that, so we look like we could show a little combination down that side.”
Marko is an animal! I didn’t realise how big he was until I got here
Up front, Marko Arnautovic continued his blistering start to pre-season with two well-taken goals.
The first saw the Austrian run in behind and finish with confidence, while his second saw the No7 hold off his defender, spin and fire unerringly into the corner.
Fredericks, for one, is a fan.
“Marko is an animal! I didn’t realise how big he was until I got here. He just holds people off for fun, he’s got a great touch and he can do bits of magic like he did at Preston, which is exactly what you need to be challenging at the right end of the table.
“You need top forward players and that’s what we’ve got.”
Another top player in West Ham’s ranks is yet another summer signing, England midfielder Jack Wilshere, who showed glimpses of his outstanding quality on his Claret and Blue bow in Lancashire.
“Jack is a classy player,” Fredericks confirmed. “We all know the quality he’s got. He’s been in and out with injuries, so hopefully we’ll keep him fit all season and he’s going to help us soar up the table.”