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Kurt Zouma looks on in West Ham warm-up ahead of Premier League clash with Leicester
Kurt Zouma has been feeling ‘unwell’, according to West Ham (Picture: Getty)

West Ham have confirmed that Kurt Zouma pulled out of their starting XI to face Leicester as he was feeling ‘unwell’, with Issa Diop coming into the side just moments before kick-off.

The Hammers faced widespread criticism as Zouma, 27, played the full 90 minutes of their 1-0 win over Watford on Tuesday night, less than 24 hours after a video surfaced which showed the defender physically abusing his cat.

Zouma has since been slapped with a £250,000 fine by West Ham and his two pet cats have been seized by the RSPCA as a consequence of the sickening footage.

David Moyes asked for forgiveness from supporters for Zouma’s ‘terrible’ behaviour at his pre-match press conference on Friday and the centre-back was named in West Ham’s team to take on Leicester in the Premier League this weekend.

But TV cameras captured Zouma and Moyes speaking at length during West Ham’s warm-up session at the King Power Stadium and the Frenchman subsequently withdrew from the visitors’ squad altogether due to ‘illness and vision problems’.

Kurt Zouma looks on during West Ham's Premier League clash with Watford
Zouma had been expected to start against Leicester (Picture: Getty)

Speaking on Sky Sports’ coverage of the match, Graeme Souness said he had ‘major problems’ with the way West Ham had handled the situation.

‘I have zero sympathy for him,’ the ex-Liverpool and Scotland midfielder said.

‘He’s turned up today and got abuse from his own supporters. West Ham’s roots are in the East end of London, salt of the earth people. People that would not, the vast majority would not be accepting of it.

‘I have major problems with it, for me looking at that video, that cat hadn’t done anything wrong. It was picked up and abused for entertainment. They’re laughing.

‘The fact it goes out on social media suggests they didn’t think there was anything wrong with it, they thought people would find this amusing.

‘They have mismanaged it from day one. For me, I wouldn’t have played him again this year. If I was still a player I wouldn’t want to be in the dressing room with him.

‘I would not want him round the place till he showed real remorse.’

West Ham manager Moyes said the RSPCA would provide a series of animal welfare classes for Zouma to attend while addressing the media at his pre-match presser on Friday.

However, the RSPCA refuted Moyes’ claims and insisted the club had made no ‘formal plans’ to educate the France international.

‘There have been no plans made for animal welfare courses to be undertaken,’ a spokesperson for the charity stated.

‘Our focus remains entirely on our experienced officers carrying out a full and thorough investigation.’

MORE : West Ham players fuming as Kurt Zouma’s animal abuse fine revealed enormous wages

MORE : Middlesbrough boss Chris Wilder praises Arsenal loanee Folarin Balogun after Derby win

Source: Metro Sport

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