Written by: @grahamkeeffe

When any club is given the news that their primary shot stopper is set to be out injured for a prolonged period of time, it is generally cause for major concern. For Hammers fans, seeing how well Adrian is filling the gloves of the injured Alisson at his new club Liverpool and finding out that Fabianski is set to be out for at least three months with a torn hip muscle, it truly seems to be the double of all whammies. Roberto Jiménez Gago however, will most certainly have something to say about that.

Arriving as one of West Ham’s first signings of the summer, Roberto, as he prefers to be known, is a vastly experienced keeper who has played at both Europa and Champions League level, as well as amassing over 120 La Liga games with several Spanish sides, including Atlético Madrid, where he started his career. His time with Greek footballing Giants Olympiacos was perhaps his most successful, where he helped the club to win three league titles and a league cup. One of his best moments for the club came in a memorable 1-0 home win over Juventus in the 2014 Champion’s League group stages, where he produced a string of fine saves to help his side to victory.

Thus far, Roberto has featured little for the Irons, making his first appearance in the 2-0 win over Newport County in the EFL Cup and coming on as a 34th minute enforced substitution for the 2-2 draw at Bournemouth. He made his full Premier League debut in the 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace just before the international break and, despite the scoreline, he didn’t have much to contend with. James McCarthy drove a powerful shot towards goal in the first half to which the 6 foot 4” stopper comfortably parried away to his left. In the second half, the Palace penalty could have gone either way, while the 87th minute winner from Ayew was literal millimetres from being disallowed. All in all, a difficult game to judge a first appearance off of.

Roberto has a difficult task on his hands filling in for the most recent Hammer of the Year, but given his experience he should most certainly be up to the task. Undoubtedly, he will be in for a busy afternoon when the Hammers head to Merseyside to face a goal-starved Everton this coming Saturday and it should be an excellent test to see what he is really capable of between the sticks. Following this, a two-game home spell awaits as Sheffield and Newcastle visit the London Stadium. Many West Ham fans will be hoping for at least seven points across these three fixtures and a resolute defence will be key to attaining this.

For Roberto, what he now needs most of all is the backing of the Hammers faithful. A rousing reception at the upcoming home fixtures may be just what he needs to help settle the nerves. With a long stint in goal ahead of him, fans should be encouraged to get behind every save, punt and clearance from the Spaniard and show him the true meaning of the West Ham Way. COYI!