Alan Irvine: I'll give the manager a glowing report from Wycombe win
Alan Irvine will give manager David Moyes a glowing report after seeing his West Ham United team win 5-1 at Wycombe Wanderers.
The Hammers, who split their first-team squad in half for a pre-season double-header, with Moyes leading his own team to a 4-1 victory at Ipswich Town, were far too good for the EFL Championship debutants.
Jarrod Bowen scored two goals and Arthur Masuaku and Manuel Lanzini one each as the Irons stormed past their hosts at a windswept Adams Park, leaving assistant manager Irvine a happy man.
“It was a terrific exercise,” he said. “It was really good for the senior players who need to get minutes and really good as well for the young players who got a taste of it.
“It was a great exercise against a team who were obviously on a high after getting promoted and I think it was a very good game all the way through.”
Due to the changes in scheduling caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, West Ham returned to pre-season training just three weeks after the 2019/20 campaign had concluded. The Hammers spent five days in Scotland working on their fitness last week, and it appeared the likes of Bowen, Mark Noble, Pablo Fornals, Angelo Ogbonna and Michail Antonio had lost none of their match sharpness in a clinical performance.
“This was one of the things that we were interested to see because, obviously, despite all the years we’ve been doing this, we’ve never been in this situation before, so it’s been a bit of a strange one knowing what level to pitch the training at, because in a normal pre-season you’d pitch it at a very difficult level physically,” Irvine explained. “But we’re having to realise that the players are coming back after just playing a few weeks ago and they’re starting again soon as well.
“I’m delighted to be able to report back to the manager that everybody looked in good condition because that will help us going forward in terms of how we plan our training.
“There was a lot of really good football. There were clever players out there, players who are technically gifted and aware of what’s around them and, as a result of that, you get some good combinations. I thought everybody contributed really well today.”
Alongside the established senior players, no fewer than seven members of West Ham’s Premier League 2 Division 2 title-winning squad were on show at Adams Park, with 16-year-old Jamal Baptiste starting alongside Academy graduate Ben Johnson in the back four.
Irvine said pre-season is a chance for those promising youngsters – goalkeeper Joseph Anang, centre-back Tunji Akinola, full-back Manny Longelo and forward Xande Silva appeared as substitutes – to showcase their talents in front of the first team coaching staff.
“This is a great opportunity for them to make an impression,” he confirmed. “What we’re looking for is that we get good individual performances and a good collective performance and I think we got that.
“I also said I want to give the manager glowing reports about people and right across the board I’m able to do that.”