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13th Feb 2022

Graeme Souness tears into Kurt Zouma after defender pulled out of West Ham squad

Wayne Farry


West Ham United defender Kurt Zouma dropped out of his team’s starting XI just moments before their match away to Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Sunday with what is being described as an injury.

Zouma, who has been at the centre of controversy in the last week over a viral video which showed him kicking and slapping his pet cat, was initially named in David Moyes’ starting side, before dropping out after the warm up.

His sudden exclusion was then discussed in the Sky Sports studio, where the pundits appeared mixed in their response to the news.

Citing the outside distractions which have accompanied the recent headlines, Jamie Carragher suggested the defender has found it all overwhelming, saying: “You don’t know what he’s been through in terms of scrutiny.”

The response from Graeme Souness was an unsurprisingly short and to-the-point: “Not as much as the cat has been through.”

He continued: “I’ve got no sympathy for him. The fact that they put it on social media, means they think there is nothing wrong with it. For me, I wouldn’t have played him again this year and if I was still a player, I wouldn’t want to play in a team with him.”

While one does not ever anticipate a pundit saying that ‘that cat hasn’t done anything wrong’ during a broadcast of Sunday football, Souness was widely praised for his robust criticism of Zouma and defence of the feline world.

Twitter users backed his comments, with more than a few acknowledging the surreal nature of proceedings.

Since the incident came to light, Zouma has been subject to intense criticism from a range of businesses, charities and individuals. A petition to prosecute him has already reached more than 300,000 signatures, while the 27-year-old has also been dropped by boot sponsor adidas.

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