Jarrod Bowen says West Ham United want to take the momentum they have created in recent weeks into the 2020/21 Premier League season.
The arrival of Bowen, and Tomáš Souček, at the end of the January transfer window helped give the Hammers new impetus in their ultimately successful fight for survival, with the former providing four assists in the Hammers’ pivotal run of eleven points from their last six matches.
The former Hull City forward has consistently caught the eye with his relentless work-rate, pace and delivery from both open play and set pieces, playing a big part in getting West Ham safe with a game to spare and earning praise from manager David Moyes.
For Bowen, who was outstanding again in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw at Manchester United, his form has confirmed his belief that he is good enough to play regularly in the Premier League.
We’ve got a lot of confidence going into the last game and we want to finish the season strongly
“I think I’ve said before, obviously it was frustrating for me to come in, play four games and then the season to be halted [by COVID-19], but since the lockdown I’ve felt confident and that I needed to hit the ground running,” he told West Ham TV.
“For me personally it was about making the step up from the Championship. I know there were lots of questions about me and whether I’m ready or not, but all I’ve got to do is believe in my own ability.
“I know the gaffer trusts in me and he puts me in the team most weeks, so I’ve got to repay his faith and the faith of my teammates and just prove to everyone that I’m ready for the step up.
“I think it’s important, especially without the ball at a place like Manchester United, to keep in your shape, keep compact and keep running back with the full-back and have the energy to run up the pitch as well. I’m feeling good, feeling fit and I’ve just got to play my own game.”
Bowen, 23, and 25-year-old Souček, who has scored three goals in the last six matches, both fit the profile of player Moyes wants to bring to West Ham – young, hungry and ambitious.
And the winger expects the manager to look to bolster his squad with more players with similar characteristics during the close-season.
“The gaffer knows what he wants, what kind of quality he wants and the hard-working, energetic players,” he observed. “He brought me and Tomáš in and we’ve tried to make an impact as much as we can.
“If the manager chooses to bring more players, we’ll try to work as a team again, start the season strongly and hopefully have a better year next year.”
The manager has repeatedly stated in recent weeks that West Ham should not see staying up as a cause for celebration, but rather the bare minimum.
Bowen agrees, and says the Hammers need to carry their late-season form into the 2020/21 campaign, which is expected to begin in September.
“I said when I joined, the quality in the squad is unbelievable and we shouldn’t be in the position we were in, but we couldn’t complain about it,” he continued. “We just had to play to everyone’s strengths and we’ve got a big squad and everyone plays their part. We’ve done that recently and now we’ve picked up the point that’s mathematically kept us up. We’ve got a lot of confidence going into the last game and we want to finish the season strongly.
“It’s only four or five weeks [until the new season starts] so there is not much time between when we finish to when we get started again, so we can use the memories of our performances at the start of next season because the way we have finished the season has been very strong.”
Should West Ham kick-off the new season in good form, it will only increase the growing optimism being felt by the Claret and Blue Army in recent weeks.
And, if the COVID-19 situation and government guidelines allow, Bowen hopes those supporters could return to cheer their team on in person later this year.
He concluded: “We all want to be playing in front of a crowd, as they help massively for us, home and away, so when we get the decision to allow fans back into the stadiums, it will be a massive plus for us again.”