David Moyes confirmed that Nikola Vlasic will start for West Ham against Genk in the Europa League on Thursday evening.
Speaking ahead of the clash Moyes revealed the Croatian will take the field at the London Stadium and said he is excited to see what the 24-year-old has to offer.
Vlasic has started both of West Ham’s previous two European matches and Moyes has been impressed with his start to life in a Hammers shirt.
“We really like him,” Moyes said. “I am looking forward to seeing what he can do. I try not to push the players through too quickly. I like to give them a chance to settle and let everybody get to know them.”
Vlasic is excited to get a start for the Hammers and said he is hoping to make the most of the chance to impress the manager.
“I see tomorrow as an opportunity [to impress],” he said. “But when I came here I knew the players they had and I know that manager has his first XI for Premier League when they came sixth with some big results so I knew it would be tough competition so I’m not in a hurry, of course, I would like to impress the manager. And I think that I can get a little better.”
Vlasic is hoping to impress Moyes against Genk but one man who has made his mark on the Croatian is vice-captain Declan Rice.
football.london asked Vlasic which West Ham player had most impressed him since his summer arrival with the Croatian replying without hesitation “Declan Rice.”
“When I talked with my friends I knew he was a good player,” Vlasic added. “But when I watched TV I thought ‘okay he is a defensive midfield player and maybe he is not that quick or fast, maybe that is a minus for him’ but he is so fast and so quick and even with the ball this season I think he is much better and improved in attack.
“He is unbelievable for me, he has impressed me the most.”
Vlasic has had to bide his time at West Ham with the attacking-midfielder an unused substitute in the Hammers’ last two Premier League matches.
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His slow integration to the team is similar to how Moyes introduced Jarrod Bowen and Said Benrahma to first-team action, with Moyes often citing the Algerian as an example of the time it takes to adjust to the Premier League.
Despite his limited minutes, Vlasic revealed he is not frustrated and has complete faith in the manager’s methods.
“I trust the manager of course,” he said. “He brought me here and knows what is best for me and he’s aware of the period of adaptation especially to a team that is together like this team. He knows what is best and how much I should and should not play.”