When West Ham signed Sam Byram from Leeds United last January there was a great deal of fanfare about the player and how we fought off Everton for the hot prospect. However, the deeper you delved it seemed that we were signing a player who was not yet 100% a Right Back nor 100% a Right Winger.
So far the club has played Sam at Right Back and a few times at Left Back when dictated by injuries, and while some of his performances have been promising, we have not yet seen the best of Byram. His development has been disrupted by injuries since his arrival in East London. Currently the player is on the sidelines after suffering an injury against Middlesbrough at the start of the month and his return is not looking imminent.
However, since that injury Slaven Bilic has been forced into switching to a back three system with Aaron Cresswell at Left Wing Back and Antonio or the impressive Fernandes out of position at Right Wing back. Three wins have followed. Things cannot remain that way though and sooner or later we will have to find a long term solution to the Right Wing Back problem. Antonio is far more effective further forward and despite how impressive he has been, Edimilson Fernandes was signed as an Attacking Midfielder. Imagine how good he will be in his preferred position!
This is where Mr Byram comes in. Last season while playing for Leeds he spent the majority of his time on the Right Wing in a 4-5-1 due to injuries and he impressed further forward. But he was not seen as a permanent option as he does not possess the dribbling ability and he himself sees his position at Full Back.
My argument is, however, that he could combine both his skills at Right Back and Right Wing to fit perfectly into the Right Wing Back spot of West Ham’s 3-4-3 on his return from injury. He has the stamina for it and has both the defensive and attacking capabilities to make the most of the position. It would also enable Antonio and Fernandes to play in their preferred positions and meant that we won’t need to dip into the transfer market for a RWB (hopefully saving some cash for Mauro Icardi!).
This system could be the start of Sam Byram reaching his undoubted potential for the Hammers, and proving us that we were right to rate him so highly to begin with.