Darren Bent has said that he sympathises with West Ham attacking midfielder Pablo Fornals after struggling to make an impact on the first-team this season.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Tottenham and England striker says that the level of competition for a starting role, coupled with the good form of those currently in the line-up, means that the summer signing faces a fight to play regularly under Manuel Pellegrini.
The 23-year-old has started one Premier League game and one League Cup game so far, with three other substitute appearances under his belt.
Bent says that having the likes of Manuel Lanzini, Jack Wilshere and Felipe Anderson battling out for the same position makes it a tough task for the former Villarreal man and that he sympathises with the Spaniard’s situation.
Bent told Football Insider: “It’s about him getting used to it and to be fair, with some of the guys he’s got ahead of him, it’s tough. I know what it’s like when you’re trying to break into the team and the team’s doing okay, it can be a bit soul-destroying.
“At the same time, you’re wanting to do well but you’re also thinking when am I going to get my opportunity? If he keeps working hard, keeps improving and keeps trying to improve then I’m sure he’ll get his opportunity. When he does he’s got to take it.”
Fornals has played a total of 136 minutes in the Premier League so far, his last two outings totalling just 14 minutes after coming off the bench.
Pellegrini opted to start Declan Rice, Manuel Lanzini and Mark Noble in the midfield against Norwich, the Irons clipping the Canaries’ wings with a 2-0 victory.