In case you've ever wondered whether professional footballers pay attention to deadline day transfer rumours, Jarrod Bowen is dual-screening our interview with a (muted) Twitch stream of Fabrizio Romano.
The West Ham man, the Premier League's form player over the first six weeks of 2022, was talking to 90min (and multitasking) after appearing in Footy.com's latest deadline day-themed advert – full Harry Redknapp style, being interviewed through a car window. West Ham 'eritage, that.
Bowen was a deadline day buy himself back in 2020, moving to the London Stadium from a Hull City side who picked up just six points in 17 games after his departure, scoring just 15 goals – fewer than Bowen himself had managed in the league before his transfer.
The move, which Bowen described as 'a blur', came out of the blue, manager Grant McCann passing on the news of the accepted bid when he came into training on the morning of. That resulted in a dash down the A1 from Hull to London (no Ryan Babelcopter here), perhaps giving the lie to the idea that most deadline day moves are either largely pre-arranged or glamorous.
Plonked from a Championship relegation battle into a Premier League one, Bowen has thrived under the tutelage of David Moyes, and explained, "I feel like it's been a constant development for me since I got here, a lot of which down to the manager, and how much he works to improve his players. There's still a long way to go in my development, but I want to be better, learn more, be the best version of myself."
Crediting the veteran Scot with bringing a positive atmosphere to the club, with the squad collectively buying into the spirit, he added, "What we achieved last season was incredible, and we've been building from that same stability. We want to be that team that's qualifying for Europe season in, season out, it's all about progression and building something special."
That 'something special' includes, in the short term, an anxious wait to find out who the Hammers will be playing in the last 16 of the Europa League – a pool of teams including five-time Champions League winners Barcelona.
"I'd be lying if I said I haven't thought about [a possible trip to Camp Nou], and it's a great position to be in. Our main goal in the group stage was just qualifying, it was all a very new experience for a lot of the players who hadn't been involved in Europe before, but to do it by topping the group and going straight into the round of 16 was fantastic.
"It's a long way into the competition, we're only a few games away from the big prize final. We've got to see who we get, but Barcelona would obviously be lovely for us."
While they're still in with a shot of Champions League qualification via Europa League triumph, the most likely route still looks to be via league position. Just two points separate the east Londoners from fourth placed Manchester United after 25 games apiece, but the chasing pack all have a smattering of games in hand thanks to their various Covid-19 related postponements.
Acknowledging that there's still a third of the season to go, Bowen admitted that the chance to have a lighter fixture load than some of their direct rivals down the stretch could come in helpful, as well as the opportunity to set the pace in the battle for fourth place rather than playing catch-up, adding, "We've been quite lucky in terms of fixture arrangements, we want to win the games that we have and put the pressure on the other teams."
Oh, and one note for the Fantasy Premier League tastemakers next season. "I definitely see myself as a forward, I love scoring goals. Assists are nice as well, but goals are it. I see myself as a goalscorer, a goal creator."
Jarrod Bowen was speaking on behalf of Footy.com, an online platform which compares the cost of the world’s biggest sportswear brands and retailers, helping people save money on everything from football kits and boots, to clothing, trainers and equipment. Visit the Footy.com website now for all the latest deals.