Tony Cottee Interview

TC main image

West Ham v Everton

West Ham:

On David Moyes…

Moyes wasn't the most popular appointment because there's a lot of frustration at West Ham. I think the fans would have moaned whoever was appointed so it was always going to be tough for any new manager coming in.

I was pleased that West Ham appointed David Moyes and I think he's made a good start. I think he's a good, safe pair of hands and I like that we've chosen a British manager. I'm confident he will turn the situation around, though it won't happen overnight. I can see him as manager for the long term. If West Ham can get the David Moyes that was at Everton, pushing us towards Europe, the fans will be very happy.

What Moyes needs to do to still be at the club next season…

For David Moyes to earn a new contract at West Ham, he not only needs to stay up this season but push the club towards the middle of the table. Once we're safe, he needs to start focussing on the free flowing football that West Ham fans want to see. He will also be judged on the players that he signs in January and the players he recommends for the summer. West Ham need to get this transfer window right because the last few have been very poor.

The issue of a six-month contract…

Moyes is clearly on trial at West Ham and there's a lot of pressure. I would have liked to have seen him given a three-year contract and maybe insert a release clause if it doesn't work. I don’t think a manager on a six-month contract helps because it doesn't instil confidence for the future, with the players wondering who's going to be in charge next year. You need some security in place.

The biggest impact Moyes has had…

Moyes has an aura around him and he has a tremendous backroom staff. I think Moyes has improved the players' fitness and their sharpness, but the biggest thing has been filling the squad with confidence again. Confidence only comes with winning football matches and Moyes has got some good wins under his belt already, including the big win over Chelsea. The players have responded very well under the circumstances. The fans want to see commitment, they want to see the tackles and that's exactly what we're getting at the moment.

On the next 5 games…

The next five games are crucial for West Ham and they could determine where we finish this season. It's great to get the win against Chelsea, but it’s beating the teams around you that will decide whether you get relegated or not.

We have very favourable run of winnable games coming up against Huddersfield, Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Brighton and Watford. I think West Ham could even get 10 points from those five games and they'd be safe from relegation by the end of January.

lanzini
Who is the key man for West Ham this season?

West Ham have three key players and they've all been injured at some stage this season. I think Lanzini is West Ham's best player and we need some big performances from him. Michail Antonio brings something different to the table and Andy Carroll can score lots of goals if we give him the right service. It's important that they all keep fit.

What did you think to the summer transfer activity?

I thought Hart, Zabaleta, Arnautovic and Chicarito were all great signings in the summer, but it hasn't necessarily worked out that way so far.

I think Zabaleta has done well and the fans have enjoyed watching him, it's just a question mark over his age and whether he can play all of the games. Arnautovic had a poor start to the season through a combination of form, suspension and injuries, but he's been fantastic the last few weeks and I'm confident he'll prove to be a good signing.

I'm concerned with Chicharito because I think the modern striker needs to do more for the team than just put the ball into the net. I think he's the best finisher at the club, but he needs to start banging some goals in. Chicharito hasn't played in his preferred position and he's been up there on his own with no service when he has played there so I do feel sorry for him.

The Joe Hart issue…

I was very excited when West Ham signed Joe Hart but I think he would admit he hasn't performed as well as he'd have liked this season.

He's a fantastic goalkeeper who has had a couple of very tough years since losing his place at Manchester City. I'd like to see him stay at West Ham but he has to leave if he's to keep his place in England's World Cup squad. He needs to review his position and move on if he isn't going to play.

How do West Ham solve their striker dilemma?

There's a clear problem at West Ham with how to utilise their strikers because they've had Sakho, Ayew, Carroll and Chicharito sitting on the bench while Antonio or Arnautovic are up front instead. Moyes will continue to try find his best forwards but I think we will see at least a couple of those names leave the club this summer.

On the F.A Cup and Shrewsbury Town…

The Premier League is the priority for West Ham and so I don't blame Moyes for resting the big names and giving an opportunity to the other players. Football is a squad game now and you have players earning huge sums of money that need to get onto the pitch and play competitive football.

I don't think the replay will be any different; it will still be the youngsters and fringe players on the pitch. I thought Josh Cullen and Reece Burke were outstanding. Toni Martinez got a chance as well. With home advantage, West Ham should beat Shrewsbury Town no matter what team we put out.

I don’t think it's disrespectful to the F.A Cup to rest your players. Once it gets to the latter stages, the big names will return and it’s a balancing act just ensuring you get through until then.

Shelvey
Where do West Ham need to strengthen in January…

West Ham need to address their defence because they've been conceding far too many goals and we also need a creative midfielder. I'd like us to get a couple of bodies in but I would rather spend the big money in the summer.

I think Alfie Mawson would be a good signing from Swansea, though that might command a record fee for the club. He's a big, commanding centre half who would take control of the penalty area. Mawson is an English player in good form and at a good age so I can see that transfer happening.

I'd like to see Jonjo Shelvey join the club to replace Mark Noble. He's a big West Ham fan so it would be a match made in heaven. He is a player who can link defence and attack with penetrating passes, getting more from our strikers.

I've seen West Ham linked with the likes of Coquelin and William Carvalho but I don't think we need them. We have enough of those type of players who can sit in front of the defence and pass the ball 10 yards.

Everton

On Sam Allardyce…

Sam Allardyce has done exactly what you'd expect him to do at Everton, he's very reliable and he's done it at every club he's been at. He secured a few wins as soon as he arrived at the club and they probably only need a couple more wins between now and the end of the season to guarantee Premier League football for next year.

The fans will accept Big Sam as a short-term appointment and nothing more because they have aspirations higher than staying in the league. I think Sam Allardyce is a very good stopgap, brought in to steady the ship for 18 months while the club works hard on identifying his eventual successor. The club could promote from within by appointing either Duncan Ferguson or David Unsworth, or I think it could be Eddie Howe.

The appointment process, Marco Silva and David Unsworth…

I think Everton were pinning their hopes on Marco Silva, though I don’t know why they were so obsessed with him. I think he did a good job in short bursts at Hull City and Watford but he has a lot to prove.

The club got distracted trying to sign Silva and then reverted back to their original shortlist with Sam Allardyce. I think if David Unsworth had won his games then he would have got the job.

It would have been a nightmare if that spell of six weeks without a manager cost Everton their Premier League place come the end of the season. Fortunately, it doesn’t look like that will be the case and they should be home and dry.

On the youth players coming through at Everton…

I'm delighted to see the likes of Calvert-Lewin, Holgate, Kenny and Davies get lots of playing time at Everton. They're getting into the team and taking their chances. You could argue that Everton are the best club at promoting youth at the moment.

I think Holgate has done very well and Calvert-Lewin has certainly impressed in difficult circumstances. I don’t think Calvert-Lewin is ready to be the main man at Everton, but it might happen one day if given the chance. Tom Davies has had a more difficult season after bursting onto the scene, but that inconsistency is expected with young players.

Rooney
On who the star man is at Everton…

I think Wayne Rooney has been fantastic for Everton this season. He's the top goalscorer and he's really standing up to be counted at his hometown club. I've been impressed with his attitude and his performances.

Gylfi Sigurdsson is a fantastic player who has been effected by being played out of position, but he's scored some cracking goals recently and I'm expecting that confidence to lead to a very strong second half of the season.

Ross Barkley signing for Chelsea…

It was clear that Ross Barkley wasn't going to sign a new contract at Everton so the club's hands were tied, needing to secure a fee for him in January rather than let him walk for free in the summer. Chelsea probably doubled the wages of Everton's best offer and you can't blame Barkley for accepting it. I think it suited all parties for him to move on now.

I think Barkley will fulfil his potential at Chelsea and become an automatic starter for England during the World Cup. Ross will become a much better player by training with top players, learning from the likes of Fabregas and Hazard.

Everton's summer spending…

There was a lot of money spent in the summer and it was a real mixed bag with only half of it well spent. I think there's no doubt that Jordan Pickford has already proven to be a fantastic signing for the club. I believe that Michael Keane will eventually prove to be a good signing. Wayne Rooney is a class act and Sigurdsson is an outstanding footballer, though I'm not sure he's what Everton needed.

I look at Klaasen and Sandro and I think the club could cut their losses already. Klaasen was a strange signing because they never needed him in midfield alongside the likes of Rooney and Sigurdsson already in there. He looks lightweight and I can't see him breaking back into the team so I would move him on.

What do you think to Cenk Tosun?

I'm looking forward to seeing Cenk Tosun play. £27m is a lot of money for Everton to spend on a striker so Tosun will be under pressure to hit the ground running and score goals from the start. He's got Champions League and international experience, scoring a lot of goals for Besiktas so I've got high hopes he will deliver for Everton.

It's hard to predict because a lot of players have come into the Premier League with similar pedigree and flopped, so it’s a case of fingers crossed.

Where do Everton need to strengthen?

I think Everton badly need a new central defender to replace Jagielka and Williams and to build a relationship with Michael Keane. I think Alfie Mawson could be a good signing for Everton. The club should also look for a proven striker who would be happy in a squad role, competing with Calvert-Lewin as back up for Cenk Tosun.