Diamanti set for Hammers debut
Alessandro Diamanti is set to make his first start for West Ham against Liverpool at the weekend.
Last Updated: 18/09/09 10:39pm
Alessandro Diamanti is set to make his first start for West Ham against Liverpool at the weekend after impressing his manager Gianfranco Zola.
The Italian striker has made an instant impression at Upton Park after scoring for the reserves and marking his debut last weekend by cracking the post against Wigan.
Diamanti arrived in East London just before the transfer deadline from Livorno to provide competition and support for first choice front man Carlton Cole.
Zola is set to start the 26-year-old against Rafael Benitez's side having been excited by the "craziness" in Diamanti's eyes.
Diamanti translates as "diamonds" in Italian and Zola believes he has unearthed a gem.
"He has some craziness in his eyes so I'm expecting good things from him," Zola said.
"He is one of those players that could make a mistake but could create something unexpected. Variety is important and I expect a bit of that from Diamanti.
"He is very good. He came on last week and hit the post so that is a good first impact.
"I know it will take time because Serie B is a different level and pace. I'm expecting him to adapt but it will take some time."
Zola has also signed Guillermo Franco to add to his options in attack but the Mexican is not ready to face Liverpool.
"He is a main striker who can play on his own," Zola said. "He can hold the ball up and I'm expect him to do well because he has all the qualities to be successful."
Lucas Neill was a player Zola wanted to stay at Upton Park but the club could not agree a new contract and the Australia defender ended up joining Everton.
"He knew that he was one of the players I wanted to stay," he said. "Unfortunately there is a third party involved - the club knew I wanted him but couldn't find an agreement. I'm sorry about that.
"He was an important player and did a great job for me. I can say thank you for his work and now I wish all the luck he deserves. I do respect his position."