Former Premier League striker Darren Bent has questioned whether or not West Ham defender Ryan Fredericks has the quality to compete in the Premier League.
Speaking to Football Insider, the retired England attacker admitted he was surprised that the right-back made the inter-city switch from Fulham to the Hammers last summer when Manuel Pellegrini picked up the 26-year-old defender on a free transfer.
Bent said: “Fredericks I’m not so sure about. He had that stint at Fulham and when he got that move to Fulham it was a bit of an eye-raiser, a bit of a shocker, going: ‘Oh wow, they’ve signed him,’ because they’ve obviously seen something in him. Defensively on his side, defensively not the strongest.”
Fredericks started in West Ham’s opening game of the season against Manchester City where the Hammers fell to an embarrassing 5-0 defeat to the reigning Premier League holders, with the right-back being one of the claret and blue players who had a tormented time against Pep Guardiola’s side.
The former Championship defender made 18 appearances in total for Pellegrini’s side last season as numbers from Transfermarkt show as an ankle injury kept Fredericks out of the West Ham squad from September to February, during which time veteran fullback Pablo Zabaleta took the starting XI spot at right-back.
Although Bent’s comments might ring true following the performance last Saturday, Fredericks’ was, in large part, a solid player for the Hammers in the previous season despite making under 20 appearances as stats from WhoScored show when compared to Zabaleta.
Fredericks averaged more tackles per game than the Argentine defender at 2.5 to 1.8 as well as committing fewer fouls per game at 0.6 to Zabaleta’s 0.7 The English right-back was also dribbled past fewer times at 0.7 per game compared to the former Man City man’s 0.6.
The former Fulham defender might have had a poor game last weekend, but Fredericks has shown that he is more than capable of playing in the Premier League.