RR: What’s your initial reaction to the news that Alves is heading out on loan then to Sunderland? Surprised?
West Ham News & Views: It’s a mixed feeling really. I was surprised to hear he could be loaned out, but it actually makes sense. He’s had a very strong pre-season and a good tournament in the U-23s Euros for Denmark. With West Ham hopefully set to sign a new defender before the window closes, he deserves to be playing regularly for a team with the right goals for the upcoming season. Sunderland would give him that.
RR: He’s played a part in pre-season - how did he do?
West Ham News & Views: Considering it was his first time playing games with the first team, he kept himself composed and didn’t look out of place. He has a very cool and collected head on him, yet is willing to do the dirty work if need be.
RR: How is Alves viewed by Hammers fans?
West Ham News & Views: None of our supporters really knew who he was when he came through the door in January, but he was good enough to instantly start playing for our U-23s and has continued to impress ever since. So I would say he is very highly rated amongst our fanbase and hopefully this loan puts his performances in the spotlight he deserves.
RR: What kind of defender is he?
West Ham News & Views: He’s mainly a calm and collected defender, but is willing to make a ‘dirty’ tackle if need be. I would also say he’s a ball-playing defender. He won’t just clear the ball every time it comes to him, but he will actually try to distribute it. He’s very quick for a central defender too, can keep hold of the ball under pressure.
RR: What would you like to see him work on during his loan with Sunderland?
West Ham News & Views: Obviously as more players returned to pre-season training, his minutes became more limited due to needing other players to get minutes in themselves. So I would like to see how he does consistently for Sunderland - I’d like to see him given a run of games, and to see whether he’s able to keep putting in solid performances and proving himself. I would also like to see how physical he can get when needed to (applying pressure, holding off a defender and so on).
RR: How do you see this going then - think he’ll be a success in League One?
West Ham News & Views: He’s played against a few teams in pre-season that have been League One or equivalent to League One level and coped with the pressure fairly easily. Obviously, that’s only a few games compared to a ram-packed season that the League One offers, but still believe he will be a good addition to your team.
RR: Ultimately, what would you say to Sunderland supporters who aren’t sure about this signing?
West Ham News & Views: I would tell Sunderland supporters to have faith in him. Show him you have confidence in him and I feel you will see a really good player. West Ham fans are gutted he’s going out on loan, which shows how highly we rate him. He will be a massive gain for Sunderland in their bid to get back to the Championship!