BBC Match of the Day presenter Gary Linker heaped praise on West Ham defender Nayef Aguerd for his “exceptional performance against Newcastle at St James’ Park on Saturday.
The struggling Hammers made it three games unbeaten in the Premier League following a hard-fought and gritty draw against in-form Newcastle United thanks to Lucas Paqueta’s well-taken equaliser.
Aguerd started and played 90 minutes for the Hammers and proved a decisive defensive component for David Moyes, putting in a man of the match showing in a game they could not afford to lose.
And Lineker speaking on BBC Match of the Day [4 February, 59m:05sec], lavished praise on the Moroccan international for his “exceptional” performance. He said: “West Ham did really well.
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“I mean honours even, it’s probably quite an even game overall but probably a more valuable point you could say for West Ham, and a lot of that was down, perhaps, to the performance of (Nayef) Aguerd, I think it was only his fifth game, but he was exceptional wasn’t he?”
The Moroccan World Cup star was exceptional indeed for the Hammers in what was a very difficult game against man in-form Newcastle United side who don’t give much away.
It’s safe to say the 26-year-old has had a tough start to his Hammers career because of injury, restricting him to just his fifth Premier League game, but he’s constantly shown that he’s got what it takes to be a top level defender as he did at the World Cup for his country.
The defender was absolutely superb, and his recovery sprint tackle on Callum Wilson who ran clear on goal was the telling highlight of a complete defensive performance alongside Angelo Ogbonna.
Aguerd won three of his four ground duels, three out of four aerial duels, recorded five clearances, two interceptions and was dribbled past zero times in what was one of the best individual performances of the Hammers’ season so far.
If Moyes and his men are to improve on what’s been a torrid campaign so far, they’ll need Aguerd in tip-top shape in defence because he is already a vital component in their back-line, especially with leader Craig Dawson leaving to their rivals Wolves.