West Ham's Bowen 'buzzing' for biggest match of career
- Credit: Steve Blowers
Jarrod Bowen faces the biggest match of his career to date when stepping out at Deutsche Bank Park tonight.
But as West Ham United look to overcome Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League semi-final second leg, their on-fire, in-form, top goalscorer is brimming with confidence.
"Eight years ago, I was at Hereford United and now I’m playing in the last four of the Europa League," said the 25-year-old, who netted his 16th goal of the campaign against Arsenal at the weekend.
"Last season, I was still finding my feet but, hopefully, this year I’ve shown what I’m about and how good I can be as a player.
"My mindset has always been to keep moving forward and not let anything stop me and, right now, my confidence is high because I feel that I’m having a good season.
"I’m a hardworking player who takes everything in his stride and I’ve just tried to enjoy my football."
Bowen joined David Moyes’ men from Championship side Hull City for £18million in January 2020, just weeks before the global pandemic struck.
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Back then, West Ham were only outside the top flight drop-zone on goal difference, but having made it a century of appearances in claret and blue against the Gunners on Sunday, Bowen can barely believe the progress made by himself and his team-mates in the Premier League and on the European stage.
"When I arrived, we’d been tipped for relegation but we’re now in these Europa League semi-finals," added Bowen, whose form has deservedly led to his name being mentioned for an England call-up alongside established regular Declan Rice.
"From the very first day when I arrived at the club, I could see that his quality was there but Declan has just gone from strength to strength. He’s gone up another level and has to give full credit to himself for doing that."
Certainly, Moyes will be looking towards both of his in-form Englishmen to spearhead West Ham’s quest to overcome the one-goal deficit from last Thursday’s first-leg loss against the German Bundesliga outfit at London Stadium.
"Just like the home tie, I’m told there will be a huge atmosphere in the stadium but this is a European semi-final and I wouldn’t expect anything less from the Eintracht fans," added Bowen.
"There have already been some great atmospheres in our other matches, too, and it’s been really good to see all the different cultures on our travels this season.
"My friends and family have supported me all the way from our first group game against Dinamo Zagreb and they’re all buzzing to see that we’re still here playing in the Europa League.
"All of the West Ham supporters have been really supportive, too, and I really enjoy playing for them because there’s a great relationship between myself and the fans.
"Although we’re trailing by that one goal, there’s still plenty more football to play and, remember, we came out of a tough group to knock-out six-time winners Sevilla before scoring three goals at Olympique Lyonnais, where we ended up winning quite comfortably.
"We’ve been written off before this season but as everyone has seen, we just keep going."