Jarrod Bowen admits he would love West Ham United to draw Barcelona in the last-16 of the Europa League to continue their progression under David Moyes.
The Hammers breezed into the knockout stage of Europe’s second-tier competition, topping Group H. They won four and drew one of their six games to finish three points above Dinamo Zagreb. Bowen has played his part, with two starts among five appearances.
The 25-year-old has been one of West Ham’s standout players this season. He moved to the London Stadium from Hull City in January 2020 and played 13 league games in the second half of 2019-2020.
The former Hereford United star featured in each of the club’s 38 top-flight games last term, bagging eight goals. He already has eight to his name in 2021-2022, with 12 in all competitions.
And, tipped for an England call-up, Bowen praised his manager for aiding his progress.
“I feel like it’s been a constant development for me since I got here, a lot of which down to the manager, and how much he works to improve his players,” he told 90min.
“There’s still a long way to go in my development, but I want to be better, learn more, be the best version of myself.”
The East End outfit sit fifth in the table and are two points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester United. And Bowen hopes that they can continue to mix it with the big boys.
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“What we achieved last season was incredible, and we’ve been building from that same stability,” he added.
“We want to be that team that’s qualifying for Europe season in, season out, it’s all about progression and building something special.”
Bowen aiming high
West Ham will learn their Europa League round of 16 opponents on February 25. There are plenty of big-name clubs left in the competition.
But for Bowen, who was linked with Liverpool back in January, the prospect of facing Barcelona has already got him salivating.
“I’d be lying if I said I haven’t thought about [a possible trip to Camp Nou], and it’s a great position to be in,” he continued.
“Our main goal in the group stage was just qualifying. It was all a very new experience for a lot of the players who hadn’t been involved in Europe before, but to do it by topping the group and going straight into the round of 16 was fantastic.
“It’s a long way into the competition, we’re only a few games away from the big prize final. We’ve got to see who we get, but Barcelona would obviously be lovely for us.”