By George Overhill

4th Nov, 2022 | 7:40am

Clive Allen was stunned by Flynn Downes in the first half of the 3-0 West Ham win over FCSB as he displayed his defensive and offensive skills.

On a night where the Hammers were relatively unchallenged by the overmatched opposition Downes stood out in a virtually flawless display.

In the 29th minute the summer signing tracked back to win the ball in his own right-back area, before beating a man as he launched an attack, and when his teammates lost possession he put in sliding tackle on the half-way line to stop the Romanians in their tracks once again.

Speaking live on the BT Sport match commentary on Thursday night (3 November, 8.29pm) Allen was thoroughly impressed and said: “He has been absolutely first class in this opening half-hour Flynn Downes.

“Wins it back again! Three really good tackles to regain possession of the ball and keep it as well.”

He went on: “When you talk about taking an opportunity Flynn Downes has certainly done exactly that.”

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Having belatedly broken into the Premier League line up since his summer arrival, Downes was the only player who kept his place for the European trip from the defeat at Manchester United.

He barely put a foot out of place, with the only possible negative a missed chance in the first half where he tried to flick a lovely Pablo Fornals cross in with the outside of his right foot but saw it saved.

Otherwise he displayed everything David Moyes would be looking for in his midfield and will have surely made it impossible for the manager to drop him.

The English top flight is far tougher than a dead-rubber Conference League game, but on a night where there was little riding on the action apart from a chance to impress the 23-year-old absolutely did that.

Pablo Fornals, and debutants Ollie Scarles and Divin Mubama, also caught the eye on a practically perfect night, where Nayef Aguerd showed signs of his considerable quality as well.

But after a difficult start to the season Downes looks to have finally convinced his manager and really turned a corner with his comfort level in the side.

West Ham fans will be hoping for plenty more performances like the one he produced on Thursday, and if he is able to do so even the dreaded potential departure of Declan Rice may become less of a worry.