Ex-West Ham man fears for Premier League future with lack of ‘characters’

West Ham United

Former West Ham striker Brian Deane feels some of the Hammers' stars are shrinking under the pressure of a Premier League relegation battle.

After Monday’s narrow defeat at Liverpool, David Moyes’ West Ham remain in the bottom three and look in real danger of sliding into the Championship, with more tough fixtures to come.

The Hammers host Southampton on Saturday, before facing four of the top nine in their next four league games – Arsenal, Wolves, Tottenham and Chelsea.

Although there have been some signs of fight in the last couple of weeks, Deane is concerned that the lack of characters in the squad could prove to be their undoing.

Speaking exclusively to Clubcall, the former Leeds and Leicester forward insisted: “You need characters in your squad. Players are sometimes brought in and their character hasn’t been tested.

“They (West Ham) have a lot of players that are very good technically, who have come with big reputations. Then you hit a blip when the expectation rises and you have to perform. 50,000 people are not getting bang for their buck and some of the players are shrinking.”

Although Moyes felt there were positives to take from the Anfield game, the manager bemoaned individual mistakes with goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski guilty of errors for two of Liverpool’s three goals.

Deane, who helped West Ham reach the play-off final in the 2003-04 season, believes a lot of the problems have come from the club’s transfer activity.

He added: “Sometimes clubs don’t look at recruitment properly. If you are going to spend 40-odd million on a player, you have to look at the infrastructure of the team and ask “how do we get the best out of that player?

“You don’t just buy a player and say get on with it…you have to play to their strengths. They (West Ham) have some very good technical players, but when the going gets tough, who is there?”

It’s now seven league games without a win for West Ham and the biggest concerned will be surrounding their home form, with just one win since September at the London Stadium and six of the last 11 are on home soil.