David Moyes has said West Ham defender Kurt Zouma has recovered from a “bad illness” and is expected to be available for selection against Newcastle in the Premier League on Saturday.
Zouma was originally selected in West Ham’s starting line-up for the 2-2 draw with Leicester last weekend, but the club have confirmed he was dropped after feeling unwell and replaced by Issa Diop.
The West Ham manager has continued to select the centre-back despite a disturbing video of him kicking his cat on his kitchen floor.
“He’s better, but it took him a few days to recover. He had a pretty bad illness,” Moyes told reporters as West Ham prepared to host Newcastle at the London Stadium.
“He has been training for the past few days, so hopefully he will be available.
Asked about Zouma’s mental state, Moyes added: “I think he’s probably very disappointed with what he’s done and he thinks about it a lot, no doubt, but overall we tried to move it forward.
“We want him to focus on his training. He played very well for us against Watford the other week there, so hopefully we can keep him at those levels of performance – we’ll be delighted.
“He is really well liked here among the fans, the performances he has already put in throughout the season, so hopefully he can focus on his football and we will give him as much support as possible until until we bring him back to his best.”
Zouma’s cats were taken away by the RSPCA after video emerged showing him hitting, dropping and kicking his pet on Monday.
The 27-year-old has issued an apology and been fined two weeks’ wages – estimated at £250,000 – which will be donated to animal welfare charities, while Adidas has dropped the player as a as customer.
Moyes said: “We were clear and concise. An investigation is ongoing at the moment, but I’m no expert on the subject. I don’t think we got it wrong at all.”
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