Nikola Vlasic wants to be West Ham’s main man – to put his Everton nightmare well and truly behind him.
Vlasic made his first start for the Hammers since his £34m move from CSKA Moscow in Thursday night’s 2-0 Europa League win at Dinamo Zagreb.
Ans he’s determined to make sure his West Ham stay does not go the same way his Everton one did when he started only seven Premier League games.
Vlasic, who hopes to start against Manchester United this weekend, said: “Do I have a point to prove? Yeah, I feel that.
“When I went to Everton I was very young, 19 years old, so I didn't have too many chances there. I think now it's a different situation.
“I'm a more mature player, a better player. I loved the three years at CSKA, I think I proved a lot.
“Now I'm here back in England and I want to prove myself here in the best league in the world.
“I was a young player at Everton. Maybe that was the problem but I remember I was good at training. Maybe I should have had more chances .
“I wanted to leave the club to have more minutes and it helped me to be in Russia at CSKA.
“I was the main player at CSKA, it helped me to gain confidence and now I'm back here and I need to prove myself here.”
Vlasic joined Everton in the summer of 2017 but the club also signed Wayne Rooney, Davy Klaassen and Gylfi Sigurdsson in that window.
And when Ronald Koeman was sacked he failed to impress either Sam Allardyce or Marco Silva and was sold to CSKA a year later.
But Vlasic flourished in Russia, where he was handed a central role as the club’s No 10, scoring against Real Madrid in the Champions League.
And he impressed on his full debut for the Hammers here in Zagreb, making a lively contribution in a comfortable win.
West Ham boss David Moyes sees Vlasic playing wide right or left and also through the middle behind Michail Antonio.
But local journalists were pressing his case to replace the suspended Antonio and play as a false nine against United, as he does sometimes for Croatia.
Vlasic said: “I came back to the Premier League because of games like this. This will be my first time at the West Ham stadium so I hope I can play.
“I'm back at the start of a journey and every game, every training session is about proving myself. I hope I will be here a long period of time.
“In my honest opinion I think West Ham have a great, great team. Very good players. We're all quick, good technically.
“The philosophy of the coach is very good – attacking football – and I enjoy it. It was a no-brainer for me when I heard about their interest.
“It was an easy decision. I don't think this team is scared of any one. We can play with any one because we have very good players, a good manager.
“United are one of the best teams in the world. But one thing is for sure – we will not be scared of them.”
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