Danny Mills suggests that West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini will snub Pablo Zabaleta and keep faith in playing Ryan Fredericks despite his poor performance against Everton on Saturday.
The former Leeds and England full-back, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, says that the Argentine veteran is a “fantastic” player but that his age might count against him when it comes to returning to the starting XI.
Fredericks has played every single minute of the Hammers’ Premier League campaign this season, with Zabaleta has just three substitute appearances totalling 37 minutes in the top flight.
Despite having a tough time against Everton in the Irons’ 2-0 defeat, Mills says that Pellegrini will likely keep faith in Fredericks and leave Zabaleta on the bench for their next outing against Sheffield United.
Asked if Zabaleta was pushing for a start, Mills told Football Insider: “Zab’s a fantastic player but he’s not getting any younger, is he? He’s 34 now, vast experience.
“I think they will stick with Fredericks for now. There’s no reason, one bad game, it wasn’t just one particular player, the whole team, none of them played particularly well.
“It’s difficult to pin it on one person’s performance so West Ham won’t change dramatically for the next game.”
Zabaleta has made 71 appearances for the Hammers since joining on a free transfer at the end of his Manchester City contract, with a total of 296 Premier League games under his belt.
Saturday’s defeat to Everton leaves Pellegrini and his men sitting 11th in the top-flight table, the Toffees four places and two points behind the east Londoners.
In other West Ham news, Mills has lauded a “fantastic deal” secured by the Hammers amid talk of a potential takeover.