Saturday 17 February 2018

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

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.

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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