Darren Bent was left raving after seeing Manuel Lanzini return for West Ham against Bournemouth and claims the Argentine can fire the Irons to a top-six finish this season.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Tottenham and England international said that the attacking midfielder pips Felipe Anderson as the Hammers’ best player thanks to his consistently high performances.
The 26-year-old returned to the squad for the 2-2 draw against Bournemouth, coming off the bench for a 23-minute outing after a brief injury layoff.
Bent says that he was delighted to see Lanzini back on the pitch after his setback, insisting that if the Hammers are to make a push for a surprise top-six finish this season then he will play a significant role.
Bent told Football Insider: “He is their best player. For me, him and Felipe Anderson are their best players but consistency-wise, Lanzini is the best. Before he got that big injury, he was unbelievable, he was brilliant.
“He reminded me a bit of (Phillipe) Coutinho a bit the way he plays, he floats in and out, he’s got the technique. For me, Lanzini is their best player. To get him to sign a new contract was massive but to get him fit – if West Ham can finish in the top six, he will play a big part in that.
“He is their best player, he’s got a little extra bit of quality and West Ham fans absolutely love him. I think he’s a top player.”
Lanzini, who joined the Irons back in 2016 from UAE side Al-Jazira, has played 115 times for the Irons, with a serious injury suffered in the summer of 2018 keeping him out of action for the majority of last season.
He started the club’s first five Premier League games of the current campaign, while he has sat out both of their League Cup outings.