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Pellegrini on Arnautovic: Maybe he was always a No.9

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini has joked that maybe Marko Arnautovic was always a striker and has actually been played out of position for the vast majority of his career.

Austria international Arnautovic had always played as a left winger during his career with FC Twente, Inter Milan, Werder Bremen, and Stoke City.

However, after initially struggling to impress for West Ham last season after his £25 million move from Stoke, David Moyes moved the 29-year-old into a more central striking role and he has been a revelation ever since.

Now free of the defensive responsibilities of a wide player Arnautovic can use his skill and physicality to terrorise defenders, and he has started this season in red-hot form scoring four goals and providing one assist in six Premier League games.

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“People have asked about Marko Arnautovic’s successful conversion from a winger to a striker, but maybe he was a No9 who was converted into a winger and now he returned to that position!” Pellegrini said in his press conference ahead of tonight’s clash against Brighton.

“As a centre-forward, of course you need to make different movements to create the space and I think Marko has a lot of power himself, so he can do it.

“I think he will continue improving as he can give more. He can score more. He must have a complete season as last season he had just a half and this season he has started very well, even with the problem in his knee.

“Always to be a top player you need to try to score in every game throughout the whole season.”

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