West Ham star Lanzini is back with a bang
PUBLISHED: 10:30 06 March 2019
PA Wire/PA Images
After eight months out with injury the little Argentinian is looking to re-establish himself with West Ham
It has been a long, difficult eight months on the sidelines since his World Cup dreams were shattered by a training injury.
But Manuel Lanzini made his first start against Newcastle United on Saturday and incredibly played 90 minutes in West Ham’s 2-0 win.
It was a remarkable comeback and he was named as man of the match, so how did it feel for him to be out there again?
“I am feeling good now, I am feeling happy,” said the South American midfielder.
“It was a long injury, eight months and it was difficult at the time, but now I am feeling good and I’m close to 100 per cent fit.”
After so long out, was he worried about getting into challenges when he did come back?
“No, never for tackles,” he insisted. “The knee is strong and I don’t have any swelling which is good.
“Of course, I did feel nervous to play again as it has been a long time, but the first 90 minutes did make me nervous too, but now I have done it, I am happy.”
Lanzini looked like he had never been away against Newcastle, linking well with Felipe Anderson as he prompted the team to go forward.
“I know that Felipe likes players like me,” said the 26-year-old.
“We understand together because we like the same teams and it is easy to play with him.”
It has been a long journey back for Lanzini, so how low did he get during the rehabilitation period?
“When the injury happened just before the World Cup, it was very difficult to stay positive. For me, it was a dream to play in the World Cup,” he reflected.
“What happened was difficult, but I had a lot of people around me, my girlfriend and my family stayed with me all the time and supported me, and I felt very grateful to them.”
Manager Manuel Pellegrini also played an important part for the little Argentinian.
“He always talked with me and he gave me confidence that he wanted me to play in the team and for me that was good to hear,” he said. “He is a very good coach and he has always been with very good teams and has a lot of experience and he gave me confidence.”
Lanzini is like a new signing for the Hammers, so how high can they get this season?
“I think seventh place is possible,” he insisted. “It is only four points between us. In the Premier League, anything is possible and the ultimate is to finish in the seventh position.”
Another ambition is breaking back into the Argentina squad with the Copa America in Brazil this summer.
“My aim is to play strong for West Ham and when I do that I think I have the opportunity to go to the Argentina squad,” he said.
“The Copa America is this summer. I know I need to play well here and then maybe I will get the opportunity.”
That is a little time into the future, but for now, the West Ham fans are just delighted to have him back and fit.