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24th Jul, 2016 | 2:22pm

West Ham monitor injury of crucial first-team player

By Dominic Toner

West Ham are monitoring the injury sustained by defender Aaron Cresswell.

The 26-year-old picked up a knee injury in the 3-0 pre-season victory over Karlsruher SC, which immediately forced him off the pitch.

He has been a virtual ever-present since arriving at the London club and started 37 of their 38 Premier League matches last season, missing just the one game through injury.

Manager Slaven Bilic told the club’s website: “The only downside of this game is that we have to see what is wrong with Cresswell. He got injured and it didn’t look that good. We will have to asses it.”

Cresswell extended his contract with West Ham earlier this month, meaning he will now stay at the club until 2021.

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The left-back was a key player last year in an outstanding season for West Ham, who defied the odds to finish seventh in the Premier League and guarantee European football for this campaign.

The former Ipswich man arrived in East London in 2014 and immediately made an impact, winning Hammer of the Year in his first season.

An extended period on the sidelines for Cresswell could cause major problems for West Ham, with make-shift left-back Angelo Ogbonna the only senior replacement in the squad.

Depending on the extent of the injury, Bilic may be forced to find a replacement in this transfer window, and is also set to land Argentinian striker Jonathan Calleri on-loan.

In other West Ham team news, their new signing has set himself a target for the upcoming season.