By Sam Stone

9th Dec, 2022 | 9:52am

Flynn Downes shares 'special' Lucas Paqueta verdict as West Ham United ace stars for Brazil

Flynn Downes has suggested Lucas Paqueta is a “special” player as the West Ham United star shines for Brazil at the World Cup in Qatar.

Paqueta scored an excellent volley in the Selecao’s 4-1 demolition of South Korea in their first knockout round of the tournament. The 25-year-old has been operating in a slightly deeper role for Tite’s side alongside Casemiro.

Downes has revealed that they see Paqueta’s talent on a daily basis and has backed the Hammers’ World Cup participants to hit the ground running when they return.

“His dance moves are good. I wish I could do that,” said Downes (quoted by Football London, 9 December).

“We see that [quality] day in and day out. Obviously, we haven’t hit our best form individually but all the boys who have gone away hopefully they can bring that back. Lucas is a special, special player.”

Bring it home

There’s a good chance of one West Ham player winning the World Cup in Qatar. Declan Rice and England stand a good chance, as do Paqueta and Brazil. However, Alphonse Areola is also part of the France squad and will be hoping for his country to quash the Three Lions’ hopes of a first major trophy since 1966.

Nayef Aguerd’s Morocco have been the surprise package of the tournament, although they do face a stern test against Portugal in their quarter-final clash. David Moyes simply has to take note of how Paqueta has performed for Brazil in a slightly withdrawn role. It allows for the West Ham midfielder to dictate play from deeper and also arrive late into the box, much like he did against South Korea.

All Hammers fans will be desperate for Rice to get his hands on the World Cup and news coming out of the England camp is positive with Sky Sports reported Rob Dorsett revealing (via Twitter, 8 December) that Rice has returned to training after a missing a session with an illness.