Gianluca Scamacca: Why David Moyes continues to leave out £35m West Ham signing

Gianluca Scamacca has been unable to win his place back after injury
Gianluca Scamacca has been unable to win his place back after injury / Craig Mercer/MB Media/GettyImages

West Ham United boss David Moyes has challenged Gianluca Scamacca to improve his game after he was an unused substitute in the 1-1 draw with Aston Villa at London Stadium.

The Italian watched on as Said Benrahma's penalty earned the Hammers a vital point in their bid to stave off relegation, having seen Danny Ings picked to replace the injured Michail Antonio from the start.

Scamacca, who signed for West Ham in a deal potentially worth £35m, showed promise in the early months of the season - predominantly in the Europa Conference League - but has been on the periphery since the turn of the year.

Moyes turned to Maxwel Cornet instead of Scamacca when taking Ings off in the search of winning a goal, leaving many supporters to wonder why the 24-year-old continues to be overlooked.

Asked what Scamacca needs to do to regain his place in the side, the Scot told his post-match press conference: “His link up play is very good, he enjoys play.

"We know that his physical data has got to be much better than it is but even today, Maxi Cornet, the thought was he could get in behind them and let’s be fair, we probably did and we nearly did three or four other times.



"Even Maxi had a couple of half chances, whether he was onside or offside. We saw Maxi doing that more than Gianluca.

“Gianluca has got to get himself back, as a manager, no manager wants to put out a bad team, you want to put out the players who you think are going to win for you, so you are always looking to put your best team out.”

When pressed to elaborate on what he meant, Moyes added of Scamacca's work ethic: “No, I think his application is there, I think we just want the output to be bigger and more, that’s one of things we are looking for more.

“The general part of his play, his hold up play, we like him for it, he’s really really good at it and we’ve not seen it as much in the work we’ve been doing.”

West Ham now sit 17th in the table and are only above Bournemouth, who beat Liverpool 1-0 on Saturday, on goal difference.


West Ham's performance against Aston Villa was relatively bright and symptomatic of their generally improved showings at home.

Said Benrahma and Jarrod Bowen provided the Hammers' main attacking threat, playing either side of Danny Ings, and they were the ones who looked capable of earning a much-needed three points. But a failure to take chances, which has summed up West Ham's season, saw Villa take a point back to the Midlands. They could even have stolen all three late on.

There's no denying that Ings was pretty ineffectual against his former club. He's a poacher, a goal-getter and good at maintaining the team's shape out of possession, But is that enough? Goals will ultimately keep West Ham in the Premier League but contributions in the build-up phase are vital too - there's got to be more than one way to skin a cat. The same can be said of Moyes' tactics.

Scamacca is a powerful centre-forward who has a tremendous shot on him while also being powerful in the air. The issue for West Ham is that he doesn't offer, in Moyes' current opinion anyway, enough in terms of movement - both on and off the ball. There's also question marks about his general sharpness and how he's adapted to the pace of the Premier League.

What's clear is that West Ham and Moyes can't afford to make the same mistake with Scamacca like they did with Sebastien Haller. He's gone on to achieve great things at Ajax and latterly Borussia Dortmund, and there's a sense that Scamacca has got all the tools to deliver like Haller if he's playing in the right environment.