Garth Crooks: Why West Ham star Kouyate was 'pure class' against Manchester United

Upton Park

BBC pundit Garth Crooks praised West Ham ace Cheikhou Kouyate for handling Radamel Falcao and Robin van Persie.

West Ham United deserved a win against Manchester United on Sunday, but were left heartbroken when Daley Blind snatched a point for the Red Devils in the dying seconds of the game.

Blind's goal cancelled out Cheikhou Kouyate's 49th minute opener, with the former Anderlecht star scoring a well taken goal form Mark Noble's free kick.

Kouyate's excellent goal, which featured a volley on the turn, capped off a fine display from the 25-year-old, who was playing out of position for the Hammers.

The summer signing is regularly a central midfielder or even holding midfielder, but filled in at centre back with Winston Reid sidelined through injury.

Kouyate had played at centre back on occasion for Anderlecht, but played like he was a natural against United, shackling their multi-million pound stars.

BBC pundit Garth Crooks named his team of the week on Sunday night, and Kouyate featured at centre back - with Crooks saying the West Ham star was 'pure class'.

"He's not a natural centre-back but Cheikhou Kouyate handled Radamel Falcao and Robin van Persie as though he had played there all his life," said Crooks. "The highlight of the game was undoubtedly the three wonderful touches the Senegalese international took to finish a superb goal. Pure class," he added.

With Reid likely to be sidelined for West Ham's trip to face Southampton on Wednesday, Kouyate could well play in defence again in what may end up becoming something of an audition.

Reid looks set to leave the club on a free transfer this summer amid reported interest from Tottenham, and if Kouyate continues to impress, he could conceivably be seen as the long-term replacement for Reid.

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