The 29-year-old hasn’t played for the Hammers since the 2-2 draw with Leicester City on 13 February. David Moyes had selected him in the starting line-up for 19 of his 25’s Premier League matches up to that point.
The Czech international suffered a groin injury and the club have confirmed that he has undergone surgery. Injury expert Ben Dinnery has predicted a further “five to six-week” layoff for the defender after the procedure.
Whelan believes that West Ham will suffer from the absence of Coufal at both ends of the pitch. The Hammers currently sit fifth in the table, but the 47-year-old fears that this injury will ‘ undoubtedly dent’ their hopes of making it into the Champions League.
Speaking about Coufal to Football Insider, Whelan said: “He’s such an important player. He’ll be missed so much in that West Ham side because he’s so consistent.
“He’s come up with goals and assists in the past, he’s intelligent defensively, and he fits right into that style of play brought by David Moyes – he works so hard.
“It’s difficult not to miss these types of players when you’re still fighting in two competitions, because there’s no option to rest or rotate.
“They’re fighting to qualify for the Champions League, let’s not forget – but this news will undoubtedly dent those hopes, it’s a massive void.”
It’s clear that Moyes values Coufal highly, and with good reason. Since the Czech ace joined West Ham, he has registered 10 assists in 56 league appearances, illustrating the creative threat that Whelan mentioned.
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher even included the ‘brilliant’ right-back in his team of the season for 2020/21, butt now the Irons face being without him for both legs of their Europa League round of 16 tie against Sevilla, as well as a trip to local and positional rivals Tottenham.
In other news, Gabriel Agbonlahor has ripped into this ‘overrated’ WHU trio.
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