Savio offers hint of immense potential
PUBLISHED: 17:47 04 March 2009 | UPDATED: 14:09 05 October 2010
Gianfranco Zola believes new signing Savio Nsereko will develop into a leading Premier League star after an impact display against Manchester City
By JONATHAN CLEGG
Gianfranco Zola believes new signing Savio Nsereko will develop into a leading Premier League star after the teenager underlined his exciting potential with an impact display against Manchester City.
Savio, who moved to Upton Park from Italian outfit Brescia in a possible club record deal in January, was given his longest run-out for the Hammers following the first-half injury to Valon Behrami last weekend.
The Germany Under-19 international responded with a sparkling 47-minute cameo that included the vital assist for West Ham's second-half winner as his stinging effort was parried by City goalkeeper Shay Given and Jack Collison netted the rebound.
It was the clearest indication yet as to why Hammers boss Zola and technical director Gianluca Nani had been willing to pay up to £10m to recruit the youngster from Brescia during the transfer window.
And Zola believes that Savio can go on to become an Upton Park hero after insisting that the 19-year-old is only beginning to scratch the surface of his immense ability.
He said: "Savio came on and did very well and I am pleased for him because he came here with a lot of expectation on him and, to be honest, he was under pressure a little bit because he knows that everybody is waiting to see something special from him.
"But the way he's working and his attitude is excellent and he is going to be even more effective [in the future]. He'll be a very successful player for us.
"We bought him because he's got something different, something that is sometimes missing in the game and against City we saw a little bit of that but I'm sure there is still a lot to come."
The Italian also expressed his pleasure at the performance of match-winner Collison after another impressive display from the Wales Under-21 midfielder.
"If you work hard and have passion and belief you can be successful and Jack Collison is an example of that," said Zola.
"I feel very lucky to have him and I like his attitude. If you've got the right mindset you can play wherever you want. I'm sure if I put Collison up front or at the back, he would still give a good game for the team.