Cullen 2.0: West Ham dud who lost ball every 6 mins simply isn't good enough for Moyes - opinion


West Ham’s dismal start to the season continued on Wednesday evening as the Hammers were dumped out of the Carabao Cup on penalties by Blackburn Rovers. It has been a troubled campaign for the Irons who promised so much after their recent successes. Indeed, they reached the semi-finals of the Europa League last term and finished seventh in the Premier League. That saw them enter the UEFA Conference League, a competition that has brought about their only success in 2022/23. While David Moyes’ side have progressed to the knockout stages of that tournament, they sit 15th in the top flight, just two points above the relegation places and have now spurned a realistic chance of silverware. It was Angelo Ogbonna who cost the Hammers during that shootout, with the Italian’s penalty crashing against the crossbar as the Championship side reached the next round. It was rather typical of their campaign that one of their recent transfer targets, Ben Brereton-Diaz scored, and on this evidence, they could do with his bullish nature and firepower. A lack of in-form offensive options isn’t the only problem for Moyes, however, with issues occurring in midfield. Declan Rice has been his ever-reliable self this term but there is a sense that the club’s Scottish tactician is unable to find him the perfect partner. Rice sat out on this occasion, with Irishman Conor Coventry being handed a rare start instead. It was just the 22-year-old’s fourth start of the campaign but he showed exactly why he has been limited to such irregular patterns of game time. Against Championship opposition, this was the perfect time for the young midfielder to stake his claim but instead, he achieved quite the opposite, putting in a performance that demonstrated to his manager that he simply isn’t good enough for first-team life at this level. At 22, Coventry should be making more of a regular impact now but his career looks destined to head in the way of a certain Josh Cullen. Another talented midfielder on the books of West Ham, he was afforded very few minutes in east London and as such, left in 2020, where he joined Vincent Kompany at Anderlecht. The 26-year-old is still with Kompany, albeit at his new employer, Burnley. Sitting in the second tier, it’s indicative of the level he’s at, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Coventry’s career headed in the same direction. Against Rovers, Coventry was poor in possession of the ball, completing just 76% of his passes, a figure that was way behind his success rate of 90% in the Conference League. As Football.London’s Jonty Colman put it, the young ace was “quite a way off his best“, as he spurned a fabulous chance to impress supporters. On top of that, the Hammers academy graduate lost 50% of his defensive duels and gave away the ball every six minutes, a damning statistic for usually such a technically sound young player. With just one key pass and a solitary shot to his name, he did little to influence the game in the final third either. As West Ham bowed out of the competition, Moyes will no doubt be left frustrated, but surely not as frustrated as Coventry who undoubtedly wasted a large opportunity. Source