Having fully recovered from a lengthy injury, West Ham’s Aaron Cresswell is finally ready to make his debut in West Ham’s new London Stadium – and it’s a milestone he’s been dreaming about for the past three months.
As reported by the Evening Standard, it was three months ago when Cresswell was injured in a largely meaningless pre-season friendly against Karlsruher; limping off, Cresswell thought he’d only need a few days to recover.
Cut to three months later and now, back from what ended up being a serious knee ligament injury, the attacking full-back is finally ready to make his belated London Stadium debut in Wednesday’s EFL Cup tie against London rivals Chelsea.
The 26-year-old played his first game in months at Crystal Palace 11 days ago, and he showed West Ham exactly what they’ve been missing by laying on the winner for Manuel Lanzini; the game was doubly eventful for the left-back after he was harshly sent off for two innocuous yellow cards in the second half.
But that’s all in the past. On Wednesday night, Cresswell will run out for the very first time at the Hammers’ new home – and boy is he excited.
“I was a bit gutted because the injury occurred in pre-season and, having played the final game at the Boleyn Ground, I really wanted to play the first match at the London Stadium,” the player claimed.
“I’ve been waiting for this game for the past three months.
“It will be tough. Chelsea were excellent against Manchester United on Sunday but, from my point of view, to finally step across that white line and onto the London Stadium pitch will be fantastic. Since I started as a 17-year-old at Tranmere, I hadn’t experienced a setback like this but it has made me a stronger player.
“I owe a lot to the medical staff here at the club. I can’t thank them enough.”
The player’s return couldn’t be more welcome for West Ham boss Slaven Bilic, who has endured a difficult start to the season.
Still, a last gasp winner against Sunderland in West Ham’s previous game is good preparation for a potentially feisty cup clash, and the Croatian will know as well as anyone that a good cup run can often play dividends in the league.