Enner Valencia left his hometown, San Lorenzo, Esmeraldas, to participate in the youth system at the Caribbean Club Deportivo Junior.

In 2008, he joined Emelec, one of the two major professional teams in the city of Guayaquil, in south Ecuador. After finding first team playing time difficult to attain, his fortunes changed in early 2010 with the arrival of the new Argentinian coach, Jorge Sampaoli.

While initially playing as a right winger, he was given the opportunity to play as a striker under the tutelage of the new Emelec coach, Gustavo Quinteros. Enner began his international career on February 12, 2012 in a friendly against Honduras. He impressed the national manager, Reinaldo Rueda, as a potential striker, and scored his first international goal in November, 2013.

It has only seemed like yesterday since Enner Valencia joined our club back in July, 2014, after a sensational display for the Ecuadorian national team in World Cup ‘Brazil 2014’, in which he scored three goals, and in doing so, gained wide acclaim for his performances in this tournament.

Within a short space of time, he developed a great understanding with striker Diafra Sakho, which saw our club rocket to fourth in the Premier League by November. The rest of course, is now history, as the club lost its way, and struggled to finish in 12th position by season’s end.

It is almost a year onwards, with a very different looking squad, and a new manager, who has re enacted the ‘West Ham style’ of fast, quick passing, attacking football, so pleasant to the eye, and achieving some magnificent wins to date.

After returning from two long injury lay-offs, we await the imminent return of Enner Valencia to help our club stabilise a position in the top 6-8, for the next 2-3 months.

I am very impressed with the personal footballing qualities of the man, coined ‘Superman’, by the fans at Emelec.

He is very fast, with great acceleration and sprint speed, together with an impressive dribbling technique. He possesses a very impressive, powerful shot. It was only two months ago that Adrian posted on Twitter: “Valencia has the most ferocious shot of anyone in the team.”

A week after this comment was made, Valencia showed how justified Adrian was in making such a comment. Approaching with a very short run-up, Valencia unleashed an unstoppable, ripping, curling ‘cannon-ball’ into the top right hand corner of the net.

After a few polite claps together with some audible sarcastic comments from his pals, he was enticed by a comment to the effect of; ‘dare to see you do that again”! Cool as a cucumber, Enner rolls the ball back a few yards, and hits the ball in an almost identical manner, same pathway and same (if not greater), amount of power.

In addition to his striking prowess, he has great jumping skills for a man of relative medium height, which has contributed to his strong heading abilities. Add to these attributes, a sense of agility, balance, ball control, and stamina, makes him a very strong candidate for the role of central striker.

The best possible set-up involving Valencia?

Desperate situations require desperate solutions. It was good to see Slaven Bilic employ a 4-3-3 formation in the recent away 0-0 game against Manchester United.

Given the solidity of the defensive back four, let us briefly examine the six ‘midfield-offensive’, attacking options which Slav could use as part of his start-up line up once Valencia returns.





No matter which formation is preferred for a given game, I cannot help feel a sense of ‘optimism’ with the return of Song, Lanzini, and Valencia.

On inspection, we have three proven goal-poachers, two ‘additional, potential goal-scorers in Antonio and Kouyate, and two playmakers – Song and Lanzini).

Our three-defined goal poachers will be expecting long passes from Alex Song, and Valencia or Zarate may expect short passing options from Lanzini and Antonio.

I would not be doing justice, if I don’t mention the ‘space-creating’ options which will be provided from the bullocking forays from Cheikou Kouyate.

Does this not all ring loud from the words of Slaven Bilic, spoken early on his arrival at Upton Park – if we need to, “we can defend with six and also attack with six.”

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