Joey O'Brien is quietly having an impressive and fulfilling start to the 2012/13 season.

The No17 has started four of West Ham United's six matches in all competitions and has also made a successful return to international duty with Republic of Ireland, featuring in friendly matches against Serbia and Oman.

The versatile 25-year-old has filled in at a host of positions for club and country and, after recovering from a long-term knee injury, is clearly relishing his growing role with both the Hammers and the Boys in Green.

Joey, it looked like that goal was never going to come in Saturday's 1-1 Barclays Premier League draw at home to Sunderland, didn't it?

JO'B - "Yep. We were knocking on the door all afternoon really and if we hadn't got the draw I think we would have been very hard done by. To be fair, I think we dominated the game from start to finish. All they really had was the one shot that went in. I don't think Jussi [Jaaskelainen] had too much to do for the whole game. Saying that, it was good to come back. Last season I don't think there were many games we came back in after we went behind so to get that one in the last minute gave the boys a bit of a lift as well."

Do you think we were guilty defensively for the goal?

JO'B - "Yes, of course. I think Ginge will say that he has made a mistake, but saying that he does have that [crossfield pass] in his game and 99 times out of 100 it would have worked, but he didn't quite connect with it and obviously it has got punished. But that is what happens at this level - last year in the Championship, we might have got away with that, but at this level we are going to get punished."

Can you take heart from the fact that you collectively didn't give up and got your reward in the end?

JO'B - "I think it showed from the very start that we went out to win the game. We had chances in the first half and we kept on creating chances throughout the second half. I just thought it was going to be one of those days just before we got the equaliser, but thank God we got it in the end."

Have we made a good start, or could we have done better?

JO'B - "It is a good start, but if we had have won on Saturday, it would have been a great start. So, in that way I guess it is disappointing. But like I said we got a draw out of the game and we have had a decent start for me. I think in all the games we have played this season we haven't looked like a team that has just come up through the Play-Offs, so I think it is a good start to take forward. We have a massive game next up at QPR and if we can do the business against them away from home then it will be a great start."

Joey O'Brien

Why do you think West Ham United have made a better start than the other two promoted sides, Reading and Southampton?

JO'B - "I think we have a lot of players with experience of playing at this level throughout their careers. The manager has also bought some smashing players. When you look at Matt Jarvis coming on for 25 minutes and how many crosses he managed to get into the box and how many chances he created [you have to be impressed]. Mohamed Diame has been super since the start of the season.

How are you finding it at left-back?

JO'B - "Well of course it is something different, but I am just really enjoying playing. Already this season I have played at left-back, right-back and centre-half. But it is good to play in so many different positions, because you find something new about your game and try to improve it. I have been working very hard on my left foot in training every day, because I know I will be playing more with my left, but it is nice that something like that can improve my game."

Do you have a preferred position?

JO'B - "Obviously it is up to the manager, but we had a clean sheet against Fulham, we had a clean sheet at Norwich, so I suppose in that way the back four have done well and it is hard to change it around. If we continue like that I will be happy just to be involved in the back four."

Finally, how is your knee holding up to the rigours of regular Barclays Premier League and international football with Republic of Ireland?

JO'B - "It is sorted. It has been a long time since the last operation on my knee and I think the main thing with long-term injuries is just about playing as many times as you can and keeping on the pitch and in the end the pain just goes. It is obviously something I still manage every day in training with the staff here, but it just great to be back and playing football again is amazing, it is great to be at the top again."

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