West Ham 2011-12: Who Needs To Step Up and Who Needs To Hit the Road

Tony White@@ant_twContributor IIMay 29, 2011

West Ham 2011-12: Who Needs To Step Up and Who Needs To Hit the Road

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    There's the door...
    There's the door...Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    In case you haven't read the multitude of relegation related articles, nor have you been following the Premiership towards the end of this season, West Ham were relegated with a game still to be played. 

    As heart wrenching as that was, it was more down to certain players not being good enough, nor having the heart to want to play for the Hammers.

    As such, I have compiled a subjective list of who should up their game next season and who should jump off now before we remember that they are crap.


Honourable Mentions.

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    For what it is worth, every West Ham fan should be on their knees and praising these two for their monumental efforts this season.
    For what it is worth, every West Ham fan should be on their knees and praising these two for their monumental efforts this season.David Cannon/Getty Images

    Robert Green - The undoubted star of West Ham's defence. He has gone from World Cup misery to being the only shining light at the back for West Ham. Without him, it could have been so much worse.

    Scott Parker - Deservedly moving on to bigger and better things after proving his class and skill at a time when lesser men would have collapsed under the pressure.

    Matthew Upson - Considered the understudy to Terry and Ferdinand in the England ranks due to his experience, the joint top scorer of England's dismal WC campaign will be leaving when the Transfer Window opens soon.

    Demba Ba - A calculated risk. It was just a shame that no one else in our front line displayed even half of his passion and hunger. If he stays, he may well reach the dizzy heights of worship that we give Di Canio.

    Obinna - A loan player who would be more than welcome back next season, providing he keeps the same level of maturity he started to show before getting, inexplicably, benched.

    Thank you all for your efforts, and may they be rewarded at a club with better prospects.

James Tomkins

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    A prospect who is just lacking maturity.
    A prospect who is just lacking maturity.Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

    James Tomkins has it all. The height, the stamina and the build. All he is missing is the concentration and the discipline to become a top class centre back. These will come in time, especially when you remember that he is still younger than the Arsene Wenger quoted point of 23.

    My Rating: Step up

Radoslav Kovac

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    Why?Phil Cole/Getty Images

    Why did we buy him? At first, it was to perform a holding role and to shelter the back four, till we found he couldn't tackle or pass. Then, it was for backup in case something happened to Parker, then we bought Der Hammer, and Spector became a quality midfield work horse. 

    Apparently, in recent days, he has stated his desire to leave and how he is blameless in our relegation. 

    No, you are not blameless, Mr. Kovac, since you were content to sit around and collect a paycheck, instead of raising your game like Spector did and fighting to improve the team.

    My rating: Show him the door

Winston Reid

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    A rare photo of Winston Reid in first team action.
    A rare photo of Winston Reid in first team action.Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    As is customary with a transfer window following a WC, a number of transfers were made based upon a few appearances on the grandest stage of them all. For West Ham, this saw the introduction of two new players, the second of which I will be discussing soon. 

    Off the back of an impressive run for the perennial underdogs, New Zealand, Winston Reid was put on the radar of a good few mid-table teams, and his arrival was much lauded as bringing youth and quality to an aging West Ham defence. Four games later, and he's a reserve main stay, very rarely getting a game once Da Costa was fit.

    He needs games to get used to the pace of English football, which is of a higher tempo than the Norwegian league, where he plied his trade before joining West Ham.

    My rating: Step up 

Daniel Gabbidon

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    Stars' do fall.
    Stars' do fall.Hamish Blair/Getty Images

    Not too long ago, Daniel Gabbidon and James Collins were a formidable duo in front of Robert Green. Now, Gabbidon is the wrong side of 30 and losing what little pace he had. For Grant, this made him the perfect left back.

    That makes judging him a little harder.

    For most of the past season, Gabbidon was played out of position and constantly outpaced by fast wingers. When pace wasn't an issue, Gabbidon seemed nigh impenetrable. When he faced Lennon or Walcott, it was like a gritty rewrite of the tortoise and the hare. Now that Upson is almost certainly gone, Gabbidon has to play a key role in aiding the development of future stars such as Tomkins and Reid.

    My rating: Step up

Kieron Dyer

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    The second most familiar habitat of the Dyer, after the physio's bench
    The second most familiar habitat of the Dyer, after the physio's benchJamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Anything I write beyond the rating will most likely land me in trouble and liable to a civil suit.

    My rating: Hit the road

Carlton Cole

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    So much promise...
    So much promise...Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    Carlton Cole missed out on an honourable mention due to the lack of overwhelming interest in his departure.

    Under Zola, Cole flourished in a goal scoring, free-playing environment, before injury made him miss a third of the season.

    After that, he became a shadow of his former self, reacting brilliantly to the situation but failing miserably when allowed time to think. He needs to work with a coach who would give him 20 minutes or so out of every training session, so that he could gain the confidence to become the 15-plus goals a season striker at West Ham needs.

    My rating: Step up.

Pablo Barrera

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    I think that sums up his EPL career so far.
    I think that sums up his EPL career so far.Scott Heavey/Getty Images

    A fast runner with an eye for goal and that creative spark, Pablo Barrera's potential was force fed to us by the shovel-full, though he never got much of a look in. As we are seeing with Benzema at Madrid, even the best need time to adjust to different leagues.

    My rating: Step up 

Boa Morte

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    What happens next? Does he a) trip, b) give the ball away...
    What happens next? Does he a) trip, b) give the ball away...Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    A former Portuguese international, presumably when everyone else was injured, Boa Morte has had West Ham fans holding their heads in their hands since he first came to Upton Park back in 2007. 

    He was signed due to a worthy performance at Fulham, where he scored 18 goals in their campaign to reach the Premiership.

    Since then, he has become a liability. If he isn't giving the ball to the other team, he is giving them a free kick.

    My rating: Hit the road

Julian Faubert

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 11:  Julien Faubert of West Ham controls the ball during the Carling Cup Semi Final first leg match between West Ham United and Birmingham City at the Boleyn Ground on January 11, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Ge
    Clive Rose/Getty Images

    Julian Faubert has had a mixed time at West Ham. From winger, to wing back, he has regularly switched positions and never seemed settled in any.

    That said, he is a hard worker who is eager to trek all over the pitch, often just not where he is needed.

    My rating: Step up

Fred Sears

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    A classic example of too much pressure at a young age.
    A classic example of too much pressure at a young age.Gary M. Prior/Getty Images

    Freddie Sears burst onto the scene with a diving header against Blackburn that wrapped up three points for us. That was in 2008

    On New Year's Day 2011, Sears scored his second goal in a West Ham shirt, before adding his third over a month later in the FA Cup.

    Just under three years to get three goals. 

    Freddie, you have all the potential in the world when being played on the left and cutting in. You are not an out and out striker!

    My rating: Step up

Herita Ilunga

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    We don't play Where's Wally in East London, we play Where's Ilunga!
    We don't play Where's Wally in East London, we play Where's Ilunga!Hamish Blair/Getty Images

    Herita Ilunga was like a breath of fresh, Congolese air when he first joined West Ham. An attacking full back who was adept at being in the right place, Ilunga provided a security to the defence that has been lacking ever since.

    Flash forward to the end of January 2011, and Ilunga didn't even make the 25. In a couple of years, Ilunga's form dipped sharply, enough so to justify Gabbidon being used as a left back. Thank whoever for Matt Fry coming through.

    My rating: Hit the road

Zavon Hines

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 05:  Zavon Hines of West Ham United in action during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Manchester United at Upton Park on December 5, 2009 in London, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
    Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

    Much like Sears, Hines has so much potential, though he isn't strong enough, yet, to burst through defenders. This will come in time, though he is also running out of time, given that he may become our first choice striker depending on how the transfer window plays out.


    My rating: Step up

Marek Stech (and the Other Goalkeepers)

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    Green's replacement?
    Green's replacement?David Rogers/Getty Images

    Much has been lauded about Stech, very little has been seen.

    Along with the other goalkeepers, Kurucz and Boffin, Stech has very rarely troubled Green's hold on the No. 1 jersey and never did look secure the one game he played for the first team.

    My rating: Step up...all three of you!

So...Who Didn't Agree with Me?

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    "That doesn't look right..?"
    "That doesn't look right..?"Tom Dulat/Getty Images

    As I said at the beginning, this is purely subjective. Some of you may even rate Kovac. If so, please get a debate going and hit the comments section.