Why West Ham would be boosted with the return of Winston Reid
West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini has revealed centre-back Winston Reid is only a few of weeks away from a potential return to competitive match action after nearly 18 months on the treatment table.
The New Zealand international, 31, hasn’t been seen on the pitch since the Hammers third pre-season game of the summer.
That led to some rumours that the defender has suffered a setback as he bids to regain fitness following a nightmare last couple of years. But that was never true as the club is simply taking a cautious approach with his recovery from a long-term injury that had seen him undergo two knee surgeries.
Winston Reid picked up his first problem in the latter stages of the 2017/18 season when he was injured making a tackle in the box away at Swansea City. He suffered a concussion as well in that game. That injury forced him to miss the rest of the 2017/18 season.
The 31-year-old then suffered a repetition of the problem in pre-season training ahead of last season and missed the entire 2018/19.
Following Pellegrini’s recent comments, Reid is certainly edging closer towards full fitness and his return will be welcome as the fixtures come thick and fast in the Premier League after the international break.
The Hammers have struggled defensively so far this season, with Issa Diop and Fabian Balbuena enduring a tough time. They started the season with Diop and Balbuena at the back but Angelo Ogbonna has replaced the latter in recent weeks.
Ogbonna, meanwhile, has been far from convincing and it looks a matter of time before Pellegrini brings Balbuena back to his starting XI.
Pellegrini signed Goncalo Cardoso from Boavista earlier this summer, but he is very young and one for the future. That’s when Winston Reid’s return from injury could be crucial for West Ham.
Reid is the most experienced centre-back in the West Ham squad and is the second-longest serving player currently behind Mark Noble. Despite turning 31 and his recent injury problems, the Kiwi still has a lot to offer at the highest level.
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The former FC Midtjylland man is vastly experienced and could be a real asset for the east Londoners this season.
There is a clear opportunity for him to cement a place beside Diop in the starting XI after regaining full fitness. In fact, Diop could learn the tricks of the trade from the experienced Reid.
There is no timetable for a return to first-team action for Reid just yet. But the belief at the club is that the Kiwi defender is certainly heading in the right direction and the fans will just need to be patient.