View from the Opposition: West Ham fan on Lingard mystery

West Ham come to Old Trafford tomorrow, so we caught up with another fan of the opposition to get some another perspective ahead of kick-off.

Ahead of the match, I spoke to editor of West Ham Till I Die, Iain Dale, who also presents an evening show on LBC Radio.

Read our conversation below:

A strong first half to the season has put West Ham in the frame for a top four finish. Do you think you have what it takes to secure one of the Champions League spots?

Iain: “I think it’s a big ask to be honest. We have done so well for the last season and a half and David Moyes has done a fantastic job in engendering the kind of team spirit the Man Utd dressing room can seemingly only dream of. They really play for each other and as a team. There are no big time charlies. Our defence has been severely weakened with the injuries to Ogbonna, Zouma and Cresswell, but Cresswell is back and Zouma will be in the squad on Saturday. We are the 4th highest scorers in the league, yet we don’t really have an out and out striker. The goals have been shared around quite well.”

Do you think Jesse Lingard will return to West Ham?

Iain: “I’d love to see him come back but I don’t think it’s going to happen. I think he made a big mistake in not returning at the beginning of the season. He keeps being a bit of prick tease with us on his social media, but my instinct is he will take the Saudi shilling at Newcastle. A great shame. How he doesn’t get into your team is a complete mystery to me.”

Our readers don’t have the greatest of memories with David Moyes. How highly do you rate him as a manager?

Iain: “I didn’t want him the first time and I certainly didn’t want him the second time around. But he’s been a revelation, not just in building a team unit but in his style of play. I never thought a Moyes team could play like this. ‘In Moyes we Trust’ is a mantra we now genuinely believe in. He can be frustrating in transfer windows in that he doesn’t seem to know who he wants at the beginning of the window, but somehow we do well in the end.”

Are you worried that this could be Declan Rice’s final season as a Hammer?

Iain: “I think if we finish in the top 4 he would stay, but he’s getting better and better and it is inevitable that he will at some point go. I just hope it’s to Real Madrid rather than a British club. It would be heartbreaking to see him in a Chelsea shirt, but they are his boyhood team and his best friend is Mason Mount. I can’t see him going north to be honest.”

West Ham have already beaten United this season — 1-0 in the League Cup — so do you fancy your chances of another win at Old Trafford?

Iain: “I do actually. The only time I have ever been to Old Trafford was about 20 years ago. We won 1-0. I think it was Jermain Defoe who got it. It was just the most brilliant day and I vowed never to return given the experience could never top that day. However, it seems to be your club is not in a good place at the moment, so I am more confident about Saturday than I normally would be.”

Who has been your top 3 players this season?

Iain: “Jarrod Bowen has been an outstanding performer. What a signing from Hull. It just goes to show that there are players in the Championship if you look for them. Antonio was in superb form in the first part of the season but has gone off the boil a bit in terms of goals. Also Pablo Fornals has been brilliant both in his overall play and chipping in goals. And Declan Rice has been superb and gets forward a lot more than he did previously. Sorry, that’s four, but it’s actually difficult to narrow it down.”

Finally, let’s get your scoreline prediction.

Iain: “2-1 to us.”

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