Tuesday 24 January 2017

Simone Zaza won't take penalties, says West Ham boss Slaven Bilic

Published 09/09/2016 | 22:41

Simone Zaza skied his penalty for Italy in the Euro 2016 shoot-out against Germany
Simone Zaza skied his penalty for Italy in the Euro 2016 shoot-out against Germany

Slaven Bilic is ready to unleash Simone Zaza on the Premier League - but will not let him take any penalties.

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Zaza at West Ham arrived last month on loan from Juventus with his inauspicious contribution for Italy at Euro 2016 still fresh in the memory.

The 25-year-old was brought on as a substitute in the dying moments of the quarter-final against Germany specifically to take a penalty in the shoot-out, but after an exaggerated, stuttering run-up, he blazed his effort over the crossbar.

Hammers fans can breathe a sigh of relief, however, as manager Bilic has no intention of taking spot-kicks away from regular taker Mark Noble.

"Will he take penalties? No, no. We have a good penalty taker already, a great one," said Bilic.

"And we don't get that many penalties anyway. We'd like more!"

Nevertheless, Bilic is set to pitch Zaza straight into his injury-hit forward line against Watford on Saturday, and he insists the striker is ready.

" He was here for a couple of weeks training with us," he added.

"He is a player of quality, he has shown me in training and now he has to show it on the pitch in a proper game in a stadium. Of course we aren't going to judge him based on one game or whatever, but I'm sure.

"He's got all the qualities that we need from a centre-forward and hopefully he's going to click straight away.

"He is not afraid of it. He wants it, you know? He wants to start a game and sooner or later and he's ready. I spoke to him and watched him in training and everything. He's ready and I think he will play. We are not rushing him."

Press Association

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