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Mexico’s Barrera should be given chance at West Ham to fill Etherington void

14:37 14 June 2011

Pablo Barrera

Pablo Barrera's first season at West ham did not go quite as he had hoped

Archant

Hammers winger deserves another chance to prove his worth

Barrera’s season

Pablo Barrera made 14 appearances for West Ham last season, starting only six games in the league all campaign.

His last league appearance came in a 3-0 defeat at home to Arsenal in January and the Mexican was not used for the remaining 15 matches that season as the Hammers finished bottom of the Premier League table and relegated to the Championship.

Barrera has played in all three of Mexico’s CONCACAF Gold Cup matches so far against Costa Rica, El Salvador and Cuba scoring in the 4-0 victory over Costa Rica.

“To perform for West Ham and then move to a bigger team in European football are my goals. I want to show what I’m made of and succeed in Europe for many years.”

Pablo Barrera had such high hopes when he joined West Ham from Mexican side Pumas last summer for £4million, but after a season of poor form and ultimately relegation with the east London club, those hopes have temporarily faded.

It’s fair to say the Mexican, nicknamed Dynamite in his homeland, was hardly explosive for the Hammers last season as he struggled with English football and its weather.

“It is very cold in England,” admitted the Mexican international when he spoke to the East London Advertiser in November. “I have adjusted to being here. I have an apartment and a car, but the cold is the main problem for me.”

As it turned out there were bigger problems for the 23-year-old. Quick, capable with either foot with a reputation as a good crosser of the ball, Barrera often wasted good opportunities when in threatening positions.

Shot of form and confidence, by the end of the season he was often seen moping around Upton Park not even thought good enough to be named on the bench.

It’s clear he wasn’t handled in the correct manner and Avram Grant failed to get anywhere near the best out of the winger, something which is hardly unique to Barrera.

In his early 20’s, living abroad for the first time, while yet to play 100 games Barrera needed nurturing, patience and an arm round the shoulder.

It’s unlikely that he found any such comforts from the Israeli, who, as it has been made clear, had little time for one-on-one chats with many of the playing staff and was as tactically poor as they come.

New boss Sam Allardyce is a far more competent tactician and man-manager, someone who is known to get the best out of his players and if he succeeds, the Hammers will have something they have missed since Matthew Etherington left for Stoke, a threat from out wide.

Lack of creativity and supply from wide areas have dogged the Hammers since his departure and it is a roll Barrera could fill.

“I think English football does suit my play,” he said. “Sometimes you can get a lot of space out wide, but sometimes it is difficult as well, because the space disappears very quickly.

“It isn’t easy, but I feel I am learning the game over here. I have passed my English test. It was a bit difficult but during the last two weeks I have tried to practice more with my team-mates. This was actually really useful. I am really happy to have passed it.”

There is little doubt he has the talent and his performances in the World Cup when he made huge impacts from the bench against the likes of France - where he flew past Eric Abidal and earned his side a penalty in a match they won 2-0- Uruguay and Argentina.

For foreign imports patience is always the key and it should be no different with Barrera who possesses attributes few others in the squad have.

Rumours have circulated that Spanish side Espanyol and although it would be a risk for both player and club to resist an offer, Barrera staying at the club should prove beneficial for both parties and then maybe he will get his move to a ‘bigger team’.

For all the latest West Ham news, views, opinions, features and interviews follow me on twitter at www.twitter.com/MattDiner_ELA

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