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Friday 13 January Updated Wednesday 18 February

Big Sam welcomes George

Sam Allardyce has welcomed George John to West Ham United and is looking forward to seeing his new defender in action sooner rather than later.

The 24-year-old became the Hammers first new recruit of the transfer window on Thursday and has joined on an initial two-month loan with a view to a permanent transfer from FC Dallas.

Big Sam has long been keeping tabs on John's progress in Major League Soccer and was delighted to get his man ahead of significant interest from leading clubs at home and abroad.

"George is going to challenge our central defensive trio of Abdoulaye Faye, James Tomkins and Winston Reid in terms of his ability, his determination and his dream," the manager told West Ham TV.

"His dream has been to play in this country, and it very nearly materialised last summer with the chance to play in the Premier League.

"For whatever reason that didn't quite happen. We have got a loan period now where we can have a good look at him. If he shows the potential we know he has, we can turn it into a more permanent deal.

"Finding a good central defender at 24 is not an easy task and we have worked very hard to get to this stage and hopefully it will be very successful for both of us."

Big Sam confirmed that John has only just started full training with his new team-mates but that the centre-back was fully focused on quickly forcing his way into contention.

He pointed to the swift impact of other MLS loanees in this country when asked about the chances John making his claret and blue bow soon.

"He has been keeping himself extremely fit," the manager added. "We have all seen the impact Landon Donovan made on Everton when he came on loan. Hopefully we can get George settled in pretty quickly and he can show the form and potential we have seen while he has played in MLS."

The United States has long had a hold on the manager's attention, not least after his own playing spell in Tampa, Florida in the 80s. He added: "There is a huge amount of talent in MLS. Look what Clint Dempsey has done for Fulham over the last few years, he has been one of the outstanding players in the Premier League.

"Stuart Holden is another who has made a big impact at Bolton. Unfortunately they haven't had him for most of this season because of injury and look at the impact that has had on them. They have really missed him.

"Lots of players have come over and even more are coming because the standards over there is getting better. When they get here they are determined to do well because of the dream to play in England. We are the golden country in terms of football."

West Ham TV

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