sport

Zarate out to emulate Tevez

Mauro Zarate is hoping to emulate fellow Argentine Carlos Tevez and become a fans' favourite at West Ham United.

Zarate has arrived at Upton Park eight years after his countryman completed a shock switch to England and helped to fire West Ham to Premier League survival.

He lasted less than a season with the Hammers, but did enough during his brief spell to earn cult hero status.

Zarate has some way to go before he can claim to sit alongside Tevez, but the 27-year-old is determined to enjoy similar success.

He is back in the Premier League for a second spell, having spent time on loan at Birmingham City in 2008, and believes he returns better equipped to handle the challenges which lie ahead.

Zarate said after netting in a 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday: "I don’t know if I am a better player than I was then. But I am more experienced. That is very important in football.

"I spoke with other Argentine players before I came back here. I speak with Sergio Aguero, sometimes we have dinner together. I always wanted to come back to England. He said West Ham was a good move for me.

"Carlos Tevez is a star. He won everything – the Champions League with Manchester United, everything with Manchester City. Now he is with Juventus.

"I am different. I know he was very popular with West Ham fans. I hope I can have the same impact."

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce is convinced that Zarate can make a positive impression, with the former Lazio and Inter Milan frontman offering something different to the other strikers on his books.

He said: "He is a different kind of player. He likes to find spaces. None of our other players are like that.

"He has some strengths that other players at our club don’t have, and he showed that. He has the quality to break down tight defences."