Kurt Zouma named in West Ham starting line-up despite French defender caught in cat-kicking video

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‘It’s a miscalculation by the club’: Joe Cole ‘surprised’ to see Kurt Zouma starting for West Ham after his cat-kicking shame – as Hammers boss David Moyes says he didn’t consider dropping French defender because he’s ‘one of our better players’

  • Kurt Zouma has been named in West Ham’s starting line-up to face Watford  
  • Comes shortly after footage of Zouma abusing his pet cat circulated on Twitter
  • Joe Cole and Owen Hargreaves left bemused by decision to include Frenchman 
  • Defender was condemned by his club and formally apologised for his actions 
  • Essex Police confirmed they have launched an investigation regarding situation


 Kurt Zouma was named in West Ham’s starting line-up to face Watford on Tuesday night, despite his recent cat-kicking shame.

The French defender was condemned by his club, the RSPCA and other animal welfare groups after a video emerged of him dropping, kicking and slapping his pet cat.

Pundits Owen Hargreaves and Joe Cole, a former Hammer, weighed in on the startling decision made by David Moyes.

Kurt Zouma has been included in West Ham's starting XI despite recent online controversy

Kurt Zouma has been included in West Ham’s starting XI despite recent online controversy

Zouma has been under fire for a video circulating showing defender abusing his pet cat for fun

Zouma has been under fire for a video circulating showing defender abusing his pet cat for fun

Speaking before the game with BT Sport, Cole said: ‘From West Ham’s perspective, I can see why they probably want to let it settle, get the game out of the way, and deal with it internally. But I think it’s a miscalculation by the club – he could have sat this one out.

‘But he’s here, he’s starting. It’s an unusual disciplinary matter, I don’t remember seeing animal cruelty within football. I’m surprised he’s in tonight.’

Former England midfielder Owen Hargreaves was equally as shocked as Cole, adding: ‘I’m really surprised.

‘He’s their best centre-back but I thought he’d be out for at least a couple of games. This won’t be the end of this, it puts a lot of pressure on him and the football club.’

Former West Ham midfielder Joe Cole says he was 'surprised' by the decision to include Zouma

Former West Ham midfielder Joe Cole says he was ‘surprised’ by the decision to include Zouma

Speaking to BT Sport, Hammers boss Moyes reiterated that the video would not effect his on field decisions yet. 

In response as to whether Zouma would be dropped, Moyes said: ‘No, because he is one of our better players. But it is certainly ongoing and the club are dealing with it, so that is a separate matter.’

Zouma has apologised for his actions while Essex Police have confirmed they are liaising with the RSPCA as part of their ‘urgent enquiries’. 

The Frenchman was constantly met with a chorus of boos by the travelling Watford fans on Tuesday night. 

Frenchman in training at the London Stadium before West Ham's game against Watford

Frenchman in training at the London Stadium before West Ham’s game against Watford

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