Javier Mascherano says the fact that Alan Pardew “didn’t like my way of playing” at West Ham caused him to be behind Hayden Mullins in the pecking order.
Mascherano joined West Ham in 2006 alongside compatriot Carlos Tevez in a shock move from Corinthians but, despite having starred in the World Cup for Argentina just a few months prior, found game time difficult to come by at Upton Park.
The Argentinean midfielder played just seven times for the club and was famously dropped behind Hayden Mullins in the midfield pecking order before departing for a loan at Liverpool in January 2007.
Mascherano enjoyed a period of success at Anfield before leaving for Barcelona in 2010, becoming a three-time La Liga champion and two-time Champions League winner, and the 31-year-old has blamed Pardew for his struggles at West Ham.
Asked by French magazine So Foot whether he ever contemplated leaving West Ham to return to his homeland, Mascherano replied: “Never. If that had been the case I would have returned to River. The president called me everyday to try and convince me to return, but that would have meant admitting defeat, without having tried to impose myself in England.
“I was aware I wasn’t doing anything wrong,” Mascherano added. “If I wasn’t playing it was because of Pardew. He didn’t like my way of playing, even though I came to training in my spare time. I didn’t want to give him football reasons for not picking me. At West Ham, I suffered a lot. Arriving in a club where the manager asks you where you play following a good World Cup isn’t the best.”