Does Enner Valencia’s West Ham career rely on the departure of Sam Allardyce?

Valencia has enjoyed a solid debut season with West Ham, but he will struggle to improve until Allardyce leaves.

Valencia arrived at the Boleyn Ground last summer, coming off the back of a strong World Cup campaign with Ecuador.

He has netted five goals in 33 games for Sam Allardyce’s men, but three of those came before November, and since then he has struggled to hit top form.

That is not for a lack of trying though, as the 25-year-old has been the real workhorse in the front-line, assisting the more consistent goalscoring of Diafra Sakho from a wide role.

However, it is this wide role that Allardyce has him playing that is also limiting him. Valencia may be impressing as the wide assistant of Sakho, but he will never be able to truly prosper until given a chance in the centre - and that is surely not going to happen whilst Allardyce remains in charge of the Hammers.

The 60-year-old coach has utilised a 4-4-2 diamond for much of this season, but whilst on paper that suggests two out and out strikers, West Ham’s system has seen a poacher in Sakho, and then the more specialised role of Valencia.

He is used as more of an attacking midfielder, but his main role is to not create chances through the centre, but to drift to both flanks, pulling the central defenders with him. Valencia has fulfilled this role with aptitude, but he is wasted when his real talents are goalscoring.

He needs to be in the centre to truly excel, and it was his thunderbolt of a goal against Hull - his first in a Hammers shirt - that shows off his talents.

Picking the ball up just left of centre, Valencia drifted infield and closer to the box, and having time to weigh up his shot, smashed the ball into the back of the net.

And noticeably, when that goal was scored, it was Sakho who had moved into the wide position to pull away the defenders.

Sakho did well in that game, but Valencia is the man who has been asked to fulfil the role of workhorse in Allardyce’s system. His talents are going to waste in this position, and until asked to play as an out and out forward he will fail to truly excel.

With Allardyce in charge it does not look like Valencia will get a reprieve from his current role, and the Ecuadorian superstar will be hoping that the 60-year-old coach leaves the club in the summer for someone who plays to his main strengths instead.

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