West Ham manager David Moyes has praised forward Sebastien Haller for taking his opportunity in the absence of the injured Michail Antonio.

The 26-year-old failed to start any of the side’s first six league games this season. His fortunes have changed in recent weeks, though.

He has started the last three matches, and netted the winner against Sheffield United last weekend.

This followed the striker scoring on his international debut for Ivory Coast earlier this month.

Haller stakes his claim for a starting spot

Moyes is pleased to see Haller performing well. He believes that the club’s record signing is now capable of challenging for a regular starting berth.

“We want competition for places, I think we’ve got that now.

“We want goals from him and we want assists and a lot of good general play so I’ve got good competition,” he said ahead of Monday’s game against Aston Villa, as detailed by Evening Standard.

Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Antonio back in training

First-choice striker Antonio has returned to training this week. Moyes is delighted to have the free-scoring forward back.

However, the experienced coach admits that the club must take a cautious approach to allow Antonio to reach his peak condition.

“He’s joined in with training a couple of days, we’re trying to see how his hamstring is and how he is.

“But it’s just great to get him back out on the training pitch for us at the moment,” he said.

When Antonio is declared fit, he is likely to be drafted back into the starting line-up straight away.

Haller and Antonio could play together

This could see Haller drop back down to the bench. Moyes has also confirmed that he feels the pair can forge a partnership moving forwards, though.

“There will be times when you can play the two of them together and there will be times when we don’t so I’m looking forward to having them both fighting,” he added.

Utilising a 3-4-3 system in recent weeks, West Ham have shot up the table. They are currently in eighth place, having won their last two games against Fulham and Sheffield United.

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