Another one on injury list
WEST HAM have prided themselves on blooding youngsters in the first team, but this season they seem to be thin in the ground.
It may not be new manager Avram Grant’s fault however. While he has included Junior Stanislas, Marek Stech and Freddie Sears this term, he has been unable to use the highly-rated Jack Collison and Zavon Hines as they continue to recover from long-term injuries.
And to add salt into the wounds, it has now been revealed that young winger Anthony Edgar is set to be out for as long as six months after damaging knee ligaments in the 5-0 reserve team victory over Queens Park Rangers last week.
It is a bitter blow to the 19-year-old speedster, who has certainly impressed this season and was hoping for a chance to play a part in the Carling Cup third round tie at Sunderland.
Edgar, who made his West Ham debut as a substitute in the FA Cup defeat against Arsenal last season, went on the pre-season tour of Germany and has scored three times in two reserve team matches already this term.
While Edgar begins the long journey of rehabilitation, for Hines and Collison, they have already travelled a long way down it.
Hines, who had surgery on a knee injury, has had to slow down his rehabilitation and is not expected to be back in full training until January, while another knee victim is Collison, who is hoping to return at around Christmas time.
Hines, 21, made a huge impression last season with his pace and dribbling skills. He made 16 appearances, scoring three goals, including the last-minute winner over Aston Villa at Upton Park.
His style of play may be ideally suited to Grant’s 4-5-1 formation, but we will not be able to find out until the new year at the earliest.
Wales international Collison can rightly claim to have carved out a regular place in the West Ham team before being struck down with a knee injury for the second time in as many seasons.
The 21-year-old hasn’t played since a substitute appearance at Old Trafford last February, but during an appearance on Sky Television’s Soccer AM programme last Saturday, he confirmed that the worst is hopefully over.
“I’m hoping to be back around Christmas time. I had an operation about four and a half months ago just to stabilise my kneecap and have a bit of a tidy up,” he said.
Collison initially suffered the injury at Wigan’s JJB Stadium in March 2009, but managed to return later during that campaign as well as at the start of last season.
It was never quite right though, as the midfielder explained: “I did it at Wigan, tried to play on and had a little bit of trouble with it and eventually it’s come to this,” he said.
“I had a little bit of work on the cartilege and in one of the operations they stabbed little holes in it and made a new scar.
“It’s quite complicated stuff, but the machine they put me on just smoothes out the scar and makes it all right.”
West Ham fans will have to hope so. Three of their most talented young players are stuck in the treatment room when they could be helping the club overcome their tough start to the Premier League season.
It can only be hoped that when they finally do return, West Ham will not need them to perform a miracle – they are already doing that