Zouma removed from West Ham lineup at Leicester after feeling 'unwell' during warm-ups

Kurt Zouma West Ham 2021-22Getty Images

Kurt Zouma was withdrawn from West Ham's lineup for their Premier League clash with Leicester City on Sunday after he felt "unwell" during the warm-up, amid the continued fallout of footage capturing him abusing one of his pet cats.

The defender was seen to have slapped and kicked the animal on video that gained circulation before Tuesday's match with Watford, with David Moyes still starting the 27-year-old in that game amid widespread furore.

Zouma was named in the starting XI for the Hammers' trip to the King Power Stadium, only to pull out of the team at short notice.

What has been said?

News broke that Zouma had been removed from Moyes' matchday squad at short notice when the club issued a short message on social media less than a quarter-hour before kick-off.

"Issa Diop will replace Kurt Zouma in the starting XI, as he is unwell," West Ham wrote. "Darren Randolph is added to the substitutes' bench."

After the game ended in a 2-2 draw, Moyes told Sky Sports: "[Zouma] was ill before the game, wanted to play, we wanted him to play as well. He was sick during the night, he stayed away from the players and did not eat much.

"Once he got out [for warm-ups] he did not think it was possible. We told Issa Diop to be ready. It is a stomach bug, probably something he has eaten."

Scandal continues to hang over Hammers

Moyes' choice to field Zouma - despite condemning the player's actions - has sparked significant fallout around London Stadium, with suspended sponsorship deals for both player and club.

Moyes has spoken of handing the former Chelsea man "a second chance" following his actions while the RSPCA - who took custody of Zouma's cats following the incident - have refuted claims that the club has made a donation to their cause.

Moyes address the continuing controversy after the game, saying: "I hope that we have changed a bit of how West Ham is perceived, but more on the pitch. We have a good, exciting young team that we are trying to improve.

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"West Ham have done great work down the East End of London, young supporters coming in and a lot of good things being done. We should not allow something like this to blight what has gone on.

"A mistake has been made and there are managers with players who have made mistake. You want to feel there is forgiveness and an apology has been made."

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