By James Murray

30th Oct, 2023 | 9:10pm

Riko Ueki adds new dimension to West Ham United Women amid early-season form

Riko Ueki has added a new dimension to the West Ham Women’s side after joining the club over the summer.

The Japanese international has really caught the eye for the Hammers this season after making the move from Tokyo Verdy Beleza at the beginning of September.

The 24-year-old forward has so far made four appearances for the Irons in the WSL, helping the East Londoners get off to a decent start to the campaign.

Ueki broke into the Beleza senior team in June 2016 before going on to make over 130 appearances and help the Japanese side to successive league titles between 2016 and 2019. 

The forward held an impressive record in the WE League – Japan’s professional women’s league – as she scored 20 goals in 38 games over the past two seasons.

She has also amassed 28 caps on the international stage, with her breakout year coming in 2022 when she found the back of the net eight times in 11 appearances. 

It was her performances at this summer’s 2023 Women’s World Cup finals that brought her to the Hammers’ attention after she featured in every game for her country across the tournament.

In the opening four games of the WSL season, Ueki has earned a 7.2 rating with SofaScore – the highest of any of the Irons’ outfield players.

After starting in each of those matches and averaging 80 minutes per outing, she has scored two goals after taking 2.8 shots per game for a conversion rate of 18 per cent.

She rescued a point for West Ham in their last match with a 95th-minute equaliser in the 1-1 draw against Liverpool on 22 October.

The forward has averaged 34.5 touches per game and recorded a pass accuracy of 69 per cent throughout her opening four outings in claret and blue.

The Japanese has also shown that she has a battling side to her game after winning possession back 1.3 times and recovering the ball on three occasions per match while collecting two yellow cards.

She has really added a different outlet for the Hammers in the forward positions this season and the fans will be looking forward to seeing plenty more of her as the campaign goes on.

In other West Ham news, a Hammers expert was impressed by the quality on display against Liverpool.