Zola: New fears for Ashton
2009-09-20 - Added by
West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola admits Dean Ashton's future could be in jeopardy as the striker fails to show signs of recovery from an ankle injury.
The 25-year old first broke his ankle whilst on England duty in 2006, but aggravated the injury in September last year.
Previously, the Hammers boss has stated that he wasn't overly worried at the slow progress of Ashton's recovery, and dismissed speculation that the former Norwich hitman was set to retire. But recent comments made by the diminutive Italian appear to suggest that he is far from optimistic about seeing the player in a West Ham shirt again.
Despite two operations on his troublesome ankle, the talented front-man remains a long way off returning to first team training.
Zola hoped Ashton would be ready to return to the Hammers starting line-up and forge a partnership with inform Carlton Cole. However, after months of brushing aside worries about Ashton's career, Zola has finally admitted he harbours private concerns.
“I am getting concerned about it,” Zola toldThe Times. “I can’t say, ‘I’ll give you three months,’ I can’t force his progress along.”
“The problem he had was more serious than anybody thought,” Zola later explained. “It’s a bad injury and the ankle is a very delicate part of the body."
The Upton Park faithful will be praying Ashton can return as soon as possible and play out the remaining four years of his five-year contract. However, the likelihood of him becoming yet another victim of a career ending savage injury is rapidly becoming a distinct possibility.