By Ed Elliot, PA
West Ham boss David Moyes has backed England forward Jarrod Bowen to rediscover top form in time for the World Cup.
Bowen is yet to hit the heights of last season but managed to retain his place in Gareth Southgate’s squad for upcoming Nations League clashes with Italy and Germany, alongside Hammers captain Declan Rice.
The 25-year-old starred with 18 goals and 13 assists in all competitions in the 2021-22 campaign as Moyes’ men reached the Europa League semi-finals and finished seventh.
Yet he is still awaiting his first Premier League goal since making his international debut in June.
“I’m just beginning to see Jarrod getting back to it, there are little bits coming back and signs of it,” said Moyes ahead of Sunday’s visit to Everton.
“At the start of last season after the Euros, I thought Declan Rice was fantastic, whereas a lot of the England players didn’t find their levels quite as much, so it can happen.
“The international football, the little rest time you get during the summer can play a part in that.
“But we’re just beginning to see good signs from Jarrod and hopefully I’m right.”
Bowen, who ended the summer with four England caps, came on as a second-half substitute in West Ham’s 3-2 Europa Conference League victory over Danish side Silkeborg on Thursday evening.
While the former Hereford and Hull player has scored twice in that competition this term, his top-flight struggles are reflected by his club’s slow start.
The Hammers, who have won only one of six league fixtures, played 56 games last season and face another gruelling campaign due to their continental commitments.
Manager Moyes is understandably eager to protect his players from burnout but believes the packed scheduled, which is intensified by international football, could improve star midfielder Rice.
“It’s really important that we try and use the players the best we can,” said the Scot, who spent around £160million on eight summer signings.
“The boys who were on international duty in the summer had a really late return, Declan especially – Declan had more time off to recover.
“I think most of our players played roughly 60 games last year, so our players have had a real busy time.
“But also what that does it builds a bit of resilience as far as playing goes as well, they get used to the regular games.
“From that point of view, we hope it will improve Declan but, on the other side of it, we’re always trying to look after him as well.”