West Ham United manager David Moyes has stated that playing Marko Arnautovic from the start against Watford on Saturday was not a risk.
The in-form Austrian has been revolutionised in recent times after a slow start to life at the London Stadium, with the Hammers attacker among the goals over the last few months.
Moyes has also fielded Arnautovic as West Ham’s main striker on occasions this season, with the versatile forward adapting to the position well.
However, injury has kept the Hammers star on the sidelines of late, but he was reintroduced into the starting XI for Saturday’s Premier League win over Watford.
Arnautovic justified Moyes’ decision by scoring West Ham’s second goal in a 2-0 victory, before being replaced by Declan Rice after 84 minutes.
The Hammers boss has praised the star’s recent performances and played down talk that the attacker had been rushed back into action.
“He’s only trained three days this week, to be fair, and you can see the difference he makes to us going forward,” Moyes told the West Ham official website.
“He’s got power, pace and quality on the ball and he’s doing a really good job. I told him he should have scored more goals, but he should also have had a penalty kick for a foul on him in the first half.
“Was it a risk? I didn’t feel it was a risk because he gives me all the right vibes. It was about what condition he was in physically and if you have him in the right frame of mind, he’s very difficult to play against. He did well. He is a real threat.”
Arnautovic’s versatility is a key element to West Ham in the final third and this will be important once Moyes has all his attacking options back available.
The potential for the Austrian to feature in a forward line that also comprises Joao Mario, Manuel Lanzini, Michail Antonio and Javier Hernandez is an enticing prospect – with the former Stoke man really the only one of the quintet guaranteed a starting berth if fit.