Moyes insists Zouma missed West Ham game due to sickness not stress


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David Moyes insisted Kurt Zouma pulled out of West Ham United’s 2-2 draw with Leicester City less than half an hour before kick-off with sickness rather than stress.

The West Ham manager said he had lined up Issa Diop to deputise after Zouma came down ill overnight after a week in which the defender was fined £250,000 for kicking his cat in a video posted on social media. The RSPCA is investigating the incident.

Moyes said he excluded the defender from the pre-match team meeting before naming him in his starting lineup for a game West Ham drew 2-2 thanks to Craig Dawson’s stoppage-time equaliser.

Moyes said Zouma was “desperate to play” but that after taking part in the warm-up here – during which he was booed by Leicester fans – he had to withdraw.

“[Diop] was made aware he had a chance of playing because Kurt was not well last night and was sick during the night and did not eat with us today and stayed out of the meeting,” said Moyes, who expects Zouma to be available next weekend.

“We did that not because we were worried, just in case it was a Covid symptom. But it has been sickness and he just could not make it.”

Moyes had been widely criticised for selecting Zouma last Tuesday, for the 1-0 win over Watford, shortly after the video had gone viral. But the manager said he could not hear as the visiting fans chanted their support of Zouma with an unedifying song about kicking cats here. “I have hard-enough hearing at my age never mind hearing what the fans are shouting,” he said.

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