Patient Fabian Balbuena prepared for Paraguayan showdown
After returning from the Copa America this summer, Fabian Balbuena found himself out of the West Ham United side in the early weeks of the season.
The No4 was a first-choice when fit last term, but his opportunities have been limited so far in 2019/20, with Angelo Ogbonna and Issa Diop forming Manuel Pellegrini's preferred defensive partnership.
However, the Chilean opted to make changes after the 2-0 defeat at Everton, with Balbuena one of three defenders to earn a recall for last weekend's Premier League fixture with Sheffield United. The Paraguayan returned with a strong performance and hopes to keep his place for Saturday's London Stadium clash with Newcastle United.
“I am working hard and I know that only eleven players can start each match,” he said. “This is football. Sometimes you have to wait and try to work hard to come back into the team, which is what I did.”
This is football. Sometimes you have to wait and try to work hard to come back into the team, which is what I did
Having won his place back, Balbuena hopes to keep it, when West Ham come up against a Newcastle side containing the only other Paraguayan currently playing in the Premier League; attacking midfielder Miguel Almiron.
The former Atlanta United star has yet to discover his best form since arriving in England in January, but the 28-year-old believes his talented compatriot will do so, providing he is played in his preferred position.
“Now, he is playing in a different position and the Premier League is a big difference from the MLS, but he is a very good player, a very technical player and a very quick player, so hopefully he will do well,” Balbuena observed.
“I think his manager wants him to play on the wing but for me I think he would be able to show more if he is playing in the centre, in the No10 position.
“I sometimes speak with him and we speak in the national team. He is happy to be playing in the Premier League, which is the best league in the world, and he is trying to do his best for Newcastle. He is doing well but, for me, he would do even better in his position.
“Through the years, we have had a number of good players come to play here in England and hopefully more of our players will come to play here.”
Balbuena dons the cover of issue seven of West Ham United's 116-page Official Programme – Hammer – for the 2019/20 season.
The eye-catching publication sees the Club make a move away from the traditional format to produce a football magazine that will maintain supporters’ interest long after the final whistle.
With cutting-edge design, exclusive interviews, attention-grabbing opinions and eye-catching photographs, plus the regular news, columns and statistics and insightful content from across all areas of the Club, Hammer is the definitive Claret and Blue publication for West Ham fans.
Priced at just £3.50, Hammer is also the best-value matchday magazine anywhere in the Premier League. Issue seven for Saturday's Premier League meeting with Newcastle United is available to order now online.
The only way to guarantee every issue is delivered straight to your door is by signing up for a seasonal subscription!
Whether you are planning to be at the match, watch at home or are simply a loyal West Ham fan or collector, the easiest way to get your copy each week is to subscribe. The deal includes all home Premier League and FA Cup home fixtures, so subscribe now!
Prices start at just £110 for UK delivery, and they can be shipped worldwide regardless of where you follow Manuel Pellegrini’s men from.
Subscriptions can be bought via ProgrammeMaster’s online store now here, or over the phone at 020 7121 5000.
If you can’t make it to the ground, you can still flick through the programme on a matchday by subscribing to our digital version via the West Ham United official programme app.
Once you download the app from the AppStore or Google Play you can snap up a seasonal subscription for only £24.99, which will automatically be downloaded to your device 24 hours before kick-off. Individual copies can also be bought for £1.99.
These digital programmes can be read on any digital device, such as phones, iPads and tablets as well as desktop computers and laptops.