Hull City vs West Ham preview: Sam Allardyce backs Alex Song to inspire new team-mates

Song has arrived from Barcelona

Click to follow
The Independent Football

New signing Alex Song could make his West Ham debut as Sam Allardyce looks to bounce back at Hull City tomorrow night following the disappointing 3-1  home defeat to Southampton two weeks ago. The Hammers manager believes Song, on loan from Barcelona, is the ideal man to bring out more from the rest of the team.

“Other players look up to a player like him,” Allardyce said of the midfielder. “They will all get lifted by a player who has played consistently at the top level. That is the type of reaction we are looking for from him.

“He is a world-class player and just by their attitude it shows the other players what they have to try and achieve. The one thing about Alex is he just wants to play football. Playing for Barcelona is fantastic, but it’s not fantastic when you’re not playing – it’s just miserable.”

Allardyce is also considering introducing a psychologist at the club in an attempt to eradicate any “cockiness” from his players.

After he saw his side let a lead slip in the Southampton defeat, Allardyce said a few needed to have their “backsides kicked” for a failure of communication on the pitch.

He revealed that he has made his feelings known to the players and believes they may have suffered from over-confidence against Southampton after a strong showing to win 3-1 at Crystal Palace the previous weekend. “The expectation after that [Palace] game was high and we just didn’t live up to it,” he said.

“Maybe the players were a bit too cocky. Maybe they had listened to the praise too much. The outside world is not what you should listen to if you want to be successful as a footballer.


“You can be distracted if you get too much praise and perhaps a little put off if you get criticism. They just need to stay focused on their responsibilities.”

When asked if he already had a psychologist in place, Allardyce said: “Not at the moment. But I am thinking of looking at that again to get the players’ frame of mind right. It is obviously very important.”

Hull hope to be able  to give a debut to £9.5m record signing Abel Hernandez, but the Uruguay striker has been delayed in obtaining his work permit after joining from Palermo on transfer deadline day.

Manager Steve Bruce believes Hernandez can adapt to the Premier League as well as his compatriot, Luis Suarez. “You don’t play for Uruguay if you haven’t got terrific ability but the question is can you adapt to the pace of it?” Bruce said. “We have seen really great players from abroad struggle.

“But he has all the tools. He’s a player who wants to go in behind, he’s a wonderful finisher, he’s quick, he’s got a bit of flair, he’s just an all-round good player.”

Bruce turned to Hernandez after having a bid of £10m for Blackburn’s Jordan Rhodes turned down. He added: “I will always look to the English and British market first but on value for money let’s be fair, with no disrespect to Jordan Rhodes, we’ve got a Uruguay centre-forward for the same price or cheaper, less than  Ross McCormack [who cost Fulham £11m].

“We now have to be better in the foreign market because unfortunately we just can’t get the ones in England. They are just too expensive.

“It’s madness. But we have got good value for money.”