Pablo Fornals’ last minute winner for Spain against Belgium at the U21 Euros earlier this week was very easy on the eye, but West Ham fans should be excited by the goal for more than its aesthetic beauty.
The former Villarreal man drove at the heart of the Belgium defence to create his chance at goal, before firing the ball beyond goalkeeper Ortwin De Wolf’s reach.
The first thing that is exciting about this is the way he carried the ball; as soon as he received it his only thought was to go forward and manipulate the space in front of him.
There can be an argument made that he wouldn’t have as much time on the ball in a Premier League game, but the positivity he showed is encouraging – something he showed at other points during the game, as he got three other shots away.
The shot itself was taken very well, as it pinged off his boot and into the net – it shows that he has the capability to trouble the goalkeeper from range.
Take a look at this, @WestHamUtd fans…⚒
While this has the obvious positive of making him a goal threat, it also means opposition players could be drawn out to shut off the option of a long shot, which could give more space to the likes of Marko Arnautovic, Manuel Lanzini and Felipe Anderson in attacking areas if Fornals can get a pass off to them.
In addition, he showed a lot of character to keep going for the winner; he likely will have been disappointed at starting on the bench in both U21 Euros matches so far, but hasn’t allowed that to impact his performance in either game.
Also, having lost their first game, it would have been easy for Spain to give up on getting the win, but Fornals believed until the dying moments, which eventually paid dividends for him and his side.
This one Fornals goal has shown multiple signs that will be highly encouraging for everyone at West Ham.