Without a win in their six previous Premier League fixtures, West Ham’s international call-ups would probably have been grateful for the change of scenery.
Six of Manuel Pellegrini’s senior squad jetted off to represent their country during the November international break, and their manager will have been hoping for injury-free appearances.
Even better if those were to come in positive results that might help build on the Hammers’ fragile confidence.
Here’s how they fared.
Declan Rice (England)
Left out of the starting XI for England’s 1000th fixture in the 7-0 mauling of Montenegro, Declan Rice was back on the team sheet for the 4-0 victory over Kosovo in England’s final Euro 2020 qualifier.
The spotlight was on Rice and Tottenham’s Harry Winks, predominantly due to Twitter claims that they couldn’t play together or that either wasn’t good enough to represent England, but the Hammers’ midfielder did all the basics right on his return to Southgate’s side.
Winston Reid (New Zealand)
The international call up that has baffled and infuriated West Ham fans in equal measure, Winston Reid completed 45 minutes of New Zealand’s 3-1 friendly defeat to the Republic of Ireland.
The ire stems from the fact that Reid has not kicked a ball for the first team for well over a year, time in which he has been recovering from a serious knee injury.
Fabian Balbuena (Paraguay)
Keeping clean sheets has been one of West Ham’s biggest problems this season, so Fabian Balbuena will have been pleased with his part in Thursday’s 1-0 friendly victory over Bulgaria.
‘The General’ watched his side’s 0-0 draw with Saudi Arabia from the bench on Tuesday, so should hopefully be fresh for Saturday’s crunch fixture with Tottenham.
Andriy Yarmolenko (Ukraine)
The Ukraine international is one player that will certainly return in buoyant mood, having assisted Artem Besedin’s late equaliser in Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Serbia.
This ensured that, in addition to finishing top of their Euro 2020 qualification group ahead of Portugal, Ukraine remained unbeaten throughout the campaign.
The forward also featured in Thursday’s friendly with Estonia, in which Ukraine ran out 1-0 winners.
Albian Ajeti (Switzerland)
The Swiss forward has endured a difficult start to life at the London Stadium, failing to score in any of his six appearances for the Hammers.
Sadly, this poor form continued into Switzerland’s two final Euro 2020 qualifiers. Ajeti completed 71 minutes of the 1-0 victory over Georgia without finding the net, a performance that rendered him an unused substitute in the 6-1 demolition of Gibraltar.
Arthur Masuaku (DR Congo)
DR Congo are unbeaten in their opening two Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, although two draws isn’t exactly the ideal start. Thursday’s goalless stalemate at home to Gabon was followed by a 2-2 draw away in Gambia – the West Ham left back featuring in both fixtures.