Sometimes it’s hard to remember that James Tomkins is only 23 years old. His performances are that of a composed defender at the peak of his career not that of a player who could still be seen playing U21 football last year. His assured performances have quite rightly seen him voted last season’s Hammer of the Year runner-up and also be included in the provisional 35 man squad for the GB Olympic football team.
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But it could’ve been very different for him. He initially started out a striker in our youth academy eventually switching to central defence and he made his debut at 18 away at Everton gifting Yakubu a goal but after this he adapted quickly and ended up as the Young Hammer of the Year that season.
The 2009-10 season saw Tomkins play on a regular basis as James Collins had departed to Aston Villa and Danny Gabbidon remained injured for long periods. The 2010 -11 saw Tomkins make his 50th first team appearance for West Ham in a 2-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers. However it was last season when he truly flourished building a solid defensive partnership between Tomkins and Winston Reid/Abdoulaye Faye which saw West Ham have one of the best defensive records in the Championship.
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His performances led him to be voted into the PFA Championship Team of the Year and also led him to be linked with linked with a £4 million move to both QPR and Newcastle United but the speculation soon ended when he signed a 4 ½ year deal until 2016. He stated his love for the club by saying “I’m a local boy and have come through the ranks at the club and loyalty is a far bigger currency to me than money”
But will he step up to the Premiership having spent a season Championship?
Personally I believe next season Tomkins will continue on from last season and show the Premiership that he is one of the best defensive talents in the country. My only concern is that we need a solid back four come the start of the season but currently there are question marks over the full back positions. Plus the cover still needs to be found for the centre back positions since the departure of Faye.
What do you think? Will James Tomkins step to the Premiership this time round? Will we have a settled defence by the time the season kicks off? Who do you think we sign improve the defence? Let us know.
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