West Ham manager David Moyes has backed defender Kurt Zouma to lead by example on the pitch as the Premier League team’s new captain.
Following Declan Rice’s big-money move to Arsenal, Moyes has opted to hand ex-Chelsea centre-back Zouma the captain’s armband in the first few matches of the new Premier League season.
Zouma has produced a string of strong performances and he scored a powerful header in the 2-1 win at Luton before the international break.
The 28-year-old is looking to help make some positive headlines again and move on from the criticism which followed him being handed a community service order after admitting kicking and slapping his pet cat during 2022.
“Kurt will continue as captain. He has done a good job,” Moyes said.
“We have won three and drawn one of the opening four games, so he will continue in the role.”
West Ham host champions Manchester City on Saturday looking to maintain their own fine start to the campaign which saw them win three successive games before the international break and briefly top the table.
“We have had three of our four games away, which is a really tough call,” Moyes told a press conference.
“Quite a few have had three at home, so for us to get those points from three away games is really good.
“We have scored goals and we look as if we are going to score goals – and if that continues we will have a great chance of picking up points.”
Following Saturday’s home game against City, the Irons open their Europa League campaign next week when Serbian side Backa Topola head to the London Stadium.
Moyes feels it will take a collective effort from his squad as they look to build on last season’s Europa Conference League triumph.
“We have been discussing it a lot and we will look at how we can recover the players correctly, how often they can play,” the West Ham boss said.
“It doesn’t mean you always play one to 11 – you have to use your 21, 22 players and that’s what we will do in the coming months.”
Moyes is hopeful to have no fresh selection worries from the international break.
Vladimir Coufal will be assessed after sitting out one of the Czech Republic’s games, while Edson Alvarez returned late from a delayed flight after featuring for Mexico.
Morocco defender Nayef Aguerd has been training again after being caught up in the earthquake while back in his homeland.
“I had a chat with Nayef this morning and my understanding is they were in the city where the earthquake was. They’re all shaken by the whole situation,” Moyes said.
“He is back in and is training, but it is a terrible tragedy for everybody.”
Alvarez, 25, has impressed since his summer move from Ajax.
“As an overseas player it’s never easy to hit the ground running in the Premier League,” Moyes said. “He has got off to a great start for us and has made a great impression with everybody.
“He has shown a brilliant mentality and character in training. He is working really hard and settled in well. We are enjoying having him here.”
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