Dean Ashton says the impressive form of Jarrod Bowen highlights the great strides West Ham have made in their recruitment policy.
Bowen scored in the 3-3 home draw with Arsenal and again in Monday’s 3-2 win at Wolverhampton Wanderers to fire the Irons into the Premier League’s top four.
The 24-year-old has scored eight times since his £25million move from Hull City in 2020 and chipped in with seven assists, allaying fears he would follow in the footsteps of high-profile flops including Benni McCarthy, Jordan Hugill, Albian Ajeti and Sebastien Haller.
However, Ashton said despite his impressive stats, it is the former Hereford youngster’s work-rate and commitment to the cause which marks him out as a successful addition. And he also picked out Craig Dawson, Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal as proof the Hammers have moved on from expensive mistakes of the past.
Speaking to 888 Sport (as quoted by Football London), Ashton said: “Recruitment has been pretty diabolical if I’m honest for the last 15 years. There have been so many signings that haven’t come off and didn’t really suit West Ham as a football club and what the fans expect from their players.
“But the recruitment has been excellent in recent times. You look at the likes of Jarrod Bowen who is the kind of West Ham player you like to see with his work-rate and how he delivers.
“Then there’s Craig Dawson, Soucek and Coufal: these are players who, even if they’re not playing well, give absolutely everything, which is the minimum that’s required as a West Ham player. On top of that, they have shown the quality and consistency to be taken seriously in this top four race.”
The Hammers were dealt a blow when Declan Rice was ruled out with knee ligament damage following international duty.
Nevertheless, Ashton believes David Moyes’ side have still got enough talent within the squad to shrug off the midfielder’s loss and secure a Champions League berth.
He added: “I think the injury to Declan Rice is a badly timed one but of all those competing for the top four they have been the most consistent. So there’s no reason to think why they shouldn’t have every opportunity to make the top four.”