Stuart Pearce’s England U21 squad for last Friday’s European U21 Championship qualifier against Macedonia included players from towns such as Essex, Doncaster and Basingstoke; so it was ironic that a man born in Jamaica, the island nation in the Greater Antilles with a population of just 2.8 million, would steal the show. West Ham United forward Zavon Hines grew up in East London and scored twice on his U21 debut after coming on for Arsenal’s Theo Walcott in the second half.
Hines scored his first on 67 minutes after goasting in unnoticed and receiving a through ball from Tom Cleverly to cooly poke home under Macedonia keeper Kristijan Naumovski. The 20 year old again took his second with minimum fuss in after 90 minutes. He made another perfectly timed run into the six yard box whilst unmarked and tapped home a deliciously floated cross from Newcastle United’s Andy Carroll.
Hines has already scored for West Ham’s first team against Macclesfield Town in a 4-1 rout in the Carling Cup, and was in devastating form in pre-season, scoring six times. Hines was also scintillating in the Iron’s unlucky loss to Liverpool at Upton Park last month. His searing pace and trickery down the flanks turned the hapless Jamie Carragher inside out numerous times. It was Hines’ speed and prowess on the ball which saw West Ham awarded a penalty which Alessandro Diamanti converted with ease.
Pearce complimented Hines after his brace for England U21s and said: “He had an impact alongside Carroll when he came on. His first goal in particular was very important for us.” Hines said after the match: “I was happy to come on and it’s even better to get two goals. Words can’t express how I feel right now to be honest. I saw Carroll beside me for the second goal but as a striker it’s nice to be a bit selfish!” As well as impressive form on the pitch, Hines’ club manager Gianfranco Zola waxed lyrical over Hine’s mental attributes and said: “He is establishing himself in the team and that is down to his work and his attitude. He is playing with a brave attitude and making an impact on the game so that is really good.”
Hines has all the raw talent a striker needs. He has a good eye for goal and composure when faced with scoring, and is effective whilst running at pace with the ball or playing off markers in the six yard box. The ex Coventry City loan man resembles Jermain Defoe or Michael Owen in his younger, quicker days and can shine under the wing of both Zola and Pearce if he keeps his good attitude and form.