Tony Cottee: West Ham strike pair highlight strength in reserve

Alessandro Diamanti and Zavon Hines can solve West Ham's goalscoring woes, says Tony Cottee

By TONY COTTEE

Goalscoring is starting to become a problem for West Ham after we failed to hit the target again in the 1-0 defeat at Wigan last weekend.

We haven't scored a single goal in the Premier League since Carlton Cole's screamer against Spurs last month, and while I'm sure Gianfranco Zola is concerned by the situation, from what I saw last week, help is at hand.

I watched our reserves thrash Birmingham at Upton Park last week and two forwards stole the show.


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Alessandro Diamanti grabbed the headlines after netting two fantastic free-kicks in his first outing in a claret and blue shirt following a �4m move from Serie B.

I know you can't compare the reserves to the Premier League because it's a completely different standard, but he flashed enough positive signs for me to think it won't be long before he has an impact in the first team.

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He's got a nice touch, good movement, quick feet, and a wonderful left foot - he scored two cracking goals and he certainly looks like a player that the fans will take to their hearts.

He has a bit of the Di Canio swagger about him too - a lot of extravagant gestures and posturing - so he seems like a character.

Everyone left the reserve game purring about his two goals and his performance, but as excited as I was about Diamanti, I was also really impressed by Zavon Hines, who hit a hat-trick in that match and was one of our better players at Wigan on Saturday.

I've spoken in this column before about the lack of out-and-out forwards in the game and while I haven't seen enough of Zavon to make a full judgement, he looked to be a natural finisher in the Jermain Defoe mould.

He's been pretty much on the fringes of the first-team squad since the start of the season and I thought his selection at the DW Stadium was well deserved.

It was quite a show of faith from Zola, because I know the fans were looking forward to seeing Diamanti make his full debut and there were other players who could've gone into the side.

But he obviously sees some of the things in him that I did last week - he looks quick, sharp and he's got good movement off the ball.

He scored three very different goals in the match - a left-foot screamer, a sidefoot finish with his right foot, and then dinking the ball over the keeper to complete his hat-trick.

As an ex-forward, that variety of finishes made me sit up and take notice because I hadn't seen that sort of finishing since Defoe was at the club.

Jermain is now a top-quality international striker, so it's asking a lot for Zavon to match that, but if he can get anywhere near what Defoe has done, he'll be a major asset for West Ham.

Tony Cottee was talking to Jonathan Clegg.

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