Hammers’ Victor is shooting for the stars

West Ham striker Victor Obinna is determined to find the net in the Premier League sooner rather than later

IF EVERYBODY played with the enthusiasm of Victor Obinna then West Ham would have few worries this season.

The 23-year-old Nigeria international has been one of the leading lights in the Hammers five-match unbeaten run, scoring in the Carling Cup win at Sunderland as well as setting up Frederic Piquionne for two goals in recent weeks.

But it is his shooting that has opinion divided at Upton Park. If you thought Alessandro Diamanti liked a pop at goal, then Obinna makes the Italian look like Luis Boa Morte.

Like the greedy schoolboy in the playground, as soon as Obinna gets the ball, he seems to have just one thought - race towards goal and shoot.

Sometimes it goes embarrassingly wrong, but at least he is having a go, and it was the Nigerian who contrived to haul West Ham back into the game on Saturday at Molineux when his burst into the box ended with Kevin Foley bundling him over for Mark Noble to score from the penalty.

According to Obinna, it was a second half renaissance inspired by manager Avram Grant.

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“The manager was really mad at is for the first half because he knows what we are capable of doing, the kind of team we are and the quality in the team,” admitted Obinna who was as guilty as most for a poor first half.

“He was upset with the way we played in the first half and told us a few words and said: ‘Guys, you know you are better than this, go out and prove yourselves and win this game’.

“In the second half, we changed the play and the way we wanted to play. We played 4-3-3 and you saw how the game changed.”

We did and Obinna certainly played his part, winning the penalty and then testing Wolves keeper Marcus Hahnemann with a stinging shot as West Ham looked for the winner.

“I think the second half was much better, we came back with the spirit,” he said. “We know how to play football. We moved the ball around and we dominated virtually the whole second half and tried to play the sort of football we want to play.”

In his time at Inter Milan, Obinna was praised by then manager Jose Mourinho as a great prospect, and the Nigerian feels that he is finally beginning to fulfil that prophecy now he has come to the Premier League.

“I am settled now and I’m enjoying myself,” said Obinna, who arrived on a season-long loan from the European champions.

“This is the kind of football I really wanted to play and I’m really happy to be here and to play in the English Premier League.

“The football is really fast and that’s the kind of football I’m hoping to play. I’ve been trying to adapt and it hasn’t been that difficult for me.

“I’m looking to start scoring goals because I believe that is what West Ham wants.”

It is and if the striker keeps shooting with the same regularity and then adds a little more accuracy, the goals will surely follow.

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