Owen Hargreaves was blown away by Andriy Yarmolenko on Thursday night as West Ham beat Rapid Vienna 2-0 in the Europa League.
David Moyes’ men were in fine form yet again in Europe as Yarmolenko and Mark Noble both scored in the Austrian capital.
As well as scoring, 32-year-old Yarmolenko also won the penalty that Noble converted and that led to massive praise from Hargreaves after the game.
“I love Yarmolenko, he’s got a wand of a left foot,” said Hargreaves on the Europa League highlight show on BT Sport 2 on Thursday night.
“He plays out on the right-hand side but he’s quite central there.
“Vlasic is technically a very good player, he’s a good dribbler, he’s creative. He’s similar to Benrahma but hasn’t had as many opportunities because Benrahma’s been fantastic.
“Yarmolenko scores the goal and gets the penalty and I think he’s just one of those – he’s another option for David Moyes.
“Bowen, Benramha and Antonio have been absolutely fantastic and there’s no way in there but he gets an opportunity.”
Yarmolenko is someone who’s attracted a lot of criticism from West Ham fans in recent years.
The Ukraine international has shown flashes of being able to play well in claret and blue but more often than not, he’s struggled with his form and with injuries.
He’s played 14 times in all competitions for the Hammers this season and on Thursday night, that was the first time he’s scored or even been directly involved in a goal.
West Ham’s opponents will get a lot tougher after the group stages of the Europa League end but Yarmolenko does add a layer of depth to Moyes’ squad that allows him to rest certain players for certain matches.
We’ve got one more game to play in the Europa League group stages this season and that’s against Dinamo Zagreb at the London Stadium in a couple of weeks’ time.
Yarmolenko may start that game and will continue to come off the bench in the Premier League in the meantime.
Do we have an issue with that?
We’d like to see Moyes sign someone fresher, younger and who can have more of an impact in bigger matches but for now, Yarmolenko has shown he’s worth sticking with at least until the summer.
In other West Ham news, Carlton Cole compared the Irons defender to John Terry.
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