West Ham vs Newcastle United: Aaron Cresswell delivers as ‘Mr Dependable’

West Ham 1-0 Newcastle United

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The Independent Football

Sam Allardyce admits he is an unlikely poster boy for a “Buy British Footballers” campaign. Over the years the West Ham manager has bought players from most corners of the world, with signings from Africa, South America and Europe this summer alone.

However, on occasion he looks closer to home and it was a Merseysider, recruited from just up the A12 at Ipswich, who sealed the points in the 1-0 win over Newcastle on Saturday.

Aaron Cresswell’s first goal since his July move was enough to lift West Ham to fifth, as high as they have finished in the top flight since 1999, and for £3.75m Allardyce believes he has a snip.

“I was surprised no one had signed him before,” said Allardyce of the 24-year-old. “Today [managers] are not thinking any more that we have players in the lower leagues able to make the step up, so we scoot off abroad. And none more so than me – I’ve done all that before. But the basis in this team is British players. They are ready to do OK straight from the start, whereas with foreign signings you’re not sure whether they’ll hit the ground running.”

 

Cresswell began at Liverpool but was released at 15, eventually making the breakthrough at Tranmere. “Aaron has progressed, slowly building his career,” Allardyce went on. “Paul Jewell saw him at Tranmere and took him to Ipswich. That gave him the platform to gain more experience.”

Allardyce, leaning over to rap a nearby wooden counter, added: “The important thing about Aaron is when I talk about injuries – touch wood – the game record of Cresswell is better than anyone at the club. He played three seasons for Ipswich at 40-plus games. He did the same for Tranmere. He’s Mr Dependable. He’s had a great start here.”

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Sam Allardyce makes a gesture on the touchline on Saturday

Cresswell was part of an all-British Hammers’ back four, which laid the platform for an impressive victory, given their absentees. James Tomkins was particularly solid after a week under the spotlight for feigning injury against Everton.

Moussa Sissoko, Newcastle’s best player, showed rather less composure as his team sought an equaliser, accumulating two bookings in a minute. He and Jack Colback, who was booked for the fifth time this season, will be suspended at Burnley tomorrow, leaving manager Alan Pardew light in midfield.

After six straight wins, Pardew wants a response to defeat. “The most important thing is to get the next result,” he said. “When we finished fifth, when I have had really good teams in the past, we have bounced back quickly.”

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