Ashley Fletcher only appeared for four minutes in the crucial 1-0 home win against Tottenham Hotspur, and has already embraced the Spurs hatred. He has given an interview with the official West Ham website, that will surely please Hammers fans.
If you cast your mind back a couple of weeks, there was a lot of talk of a Spurs title challenge. This was effectively ended at the London Stadium thanks to Manuel Lanzini's goal, in one of the best team performances at the new ground.
After our repeated pleas to see more of Fletcher, the Manchester lad has been upgraded to cameo appearances off the bench in the last two league games. Progress(!)
Speaking to the West Ham website the striker spoke glowingly of the Tottenham win, despite the fact he was only briefly involved in the game:
“It was the best atmosphere I’ve ever played in myself. Obviously getting on in a London derby against Spurs, I know how much it means to the fans, so for us to win the game as we did and end their title hopes was a good achievement.”
If Fletcher keeps talking about his delight at ending Tottenham’s title hopes then the striker will immediately earn his way into West Ham hearts. He almost made a great impact off the bench when clear on goal in the dying seconds of the game, but a good save from Hugo Lloris prevented it. Fletcher discussed this moment:
“It was an all-round good team performance. First off, I think I had to go on and do a job and that was to see the game out, because 1-0 is a precarious situation.
“With the opportunity, it was one of those that if the ‘keeper doesn’t get a touch on it, the ball goes into the back of the net and you’re a hero. It’s just fine margins.”
With the lack of playing time, Fletcher's season has been frustrating from a fan perspective, this will be worse for the man himself. It is encouraging to hear that he is focusing in training and preparing for the chance in the first team to come:
“I understood why I wasn’t getting as much game-time as I would have liked, but that’s football and all I could have done was keep working hard in training and showing the manager that I deserved some game-time and obviously getting some minutes against Tottenham and Liverpool was a bit of a reward and really good for me.
“Hopefully I can get some more against Burnley.”
A boyhood Bolton Wanderers fan, Fletcher was born 20 miles from Turf Moor, home to Saturday’s opponents, Burnley. In the final game of the season it would be encouraging for Manchester United-product to get some meaningful gametime - a chance to prove himself.
I would hope that the days of Jonathan Calleri spearheading the attack will be over once the flop’s season-long loan is over. Why not experiment with playing Ashley Fletcher up front to give us a glimpse of what the young talent at West Ham is really capable of? Or is that too logical for West Ham United?