England Under-19 defender James Tomkins will get the chance of more first-team football during a one-month loan deal with Championship team Derby County.
Tomkins demonstrated his potential during five starts and one substitute appearance for West Ham United last season, playing 90 minutes on his debut in the 1-1 draw with Everton at Goodison Park. The 19-year-old centre-back has played for England at Under-17 and U19 level and was a key member of the squad that went to the European Under-19 finals in the Czech Republic in the summer - starting all three games.
He said: "I have got to challenge for my place at West Ham United, but if I can get a few games under my belt in a good league, then it can only be good for me. Derby have a good stadium and fans. Obviously it will be good experience, I am looking forward to it - having some games, I know I have to impress before I play [at West Ham], I won't just walk into the side.
"My total aim is to play for West Ham, but if I have to go out on loan somewhere else to get some more experience, especially in what is a very tough league, then it can only be good for me for the future. I can then come back to West Ham and stake my claim for a place here. Going on loan is an important part of a young player's development. I am only 19 and still learning the trade so this can only do me good."
Tomkins missed the first part of this season with injury but made an impressive return in the reserves' 1-0 win against Portsmouth at the Boleyn Ground on Tuesday. He marshalled the home defence well, nullifying a visiting attack featuring David Nugent and Ben Sahar. He could make his debut for the Paul Jewell's side this Saturday in their Championship match against Burnley. The Rams sit 14th in the table, just four points away from the play-off positions.