West Ham boss David Moyes has vowed to restore Manuel Lanzini back to the player he was in his first spell in charge.
Lanzini’s form for the Hammers under Slaven Bilic and then Moyes once saw him touted as a replacement for Philippe Coutinho at Liverpool.
But the dynamic midfielder has been a shadow of that player after suffering a cruciate ligament injury in training for Argentina ahead of the 2018 World Cup.
Since Moyes returned to the London Stadium last December Lanzini has been largely reduced to substitute appearances, but he still managed a memorable cameo with the equaliser in the dramatic 3-3 draw at Tottenham earlier this season.
And his half-time introduction against Crystal Palace on Wednesday night helped West Ham secure a 1-1 draw, the 27-year-old playing a key role in Sebastien Haller’s spectacular equaliser after Christian Benteke had given Palace a first-half lead.
“He came on and controlled the ball, gave us something different and that’s what I want from the players who come on – to make a difference, be important and play their part,” said Moyes.
“He’s been a bit unlucky not to have been involved and start more games but the form of the team has made that difficult
“He is not someone I have given up on, I want to get him back to the levels when we were first here.
“Maybe his injuries affected him a little bit, but then we need to find a way to get him back there.”
Benteke’s evening ended prematurely after he was sent off for a second yellow card following two identical aerial challenges, a decision manager Roy Hodgson branded “ludicrous”.
Eagles defender Scott Dann told Premier League Productions: “It looked like an honest challenge.
“It seemed to me as if Christian jumped up on both of them. When you’re a centre-back and a big striker going for the ball you know you have to jump with your arms.
“I think if he made a movement towards them, fair enough. But he’s jumping up straight, the guy’s jumping up from behind.
“He’s obviously disappointed. He doesn’t feel as if he should have been sent off.”