It may not come as a huge surprise that speedy Hammers winger Matt Jarvis was a talented athlete as a youngster.

The former Gillingham and Wolves man competed at county level for Surrey, where he grew up, before full-time football took over for him at the age of 16.

He recently told athletics magazine Spikes of his promise as a junior and the West Ham TV cameras were on hand to capture his thoughts.


Jarvis said: "I used to swim and do athletics, as well as play football, so I used to do lots of different things.

"I don't know why I used to do it, but I used to run the 800m, 1500m and the long-distance cross-country rather than the sprints.

"But I used to enjoy it, especially the cross-country. You'd be running up hills and through forests, and it was enjoyable.

"My biggest achievement in athletics would be doing a run in Nottingham, which was a European qualifier. I was running a year above my age group, and I was the top Surrey runner, so that was pretty good.

"Football was always the priority for me - I'd play a game of football if there was a clash between that and an athletics meeting - and when it went to 16 and leaving school that was when everything else had to take a sidestep.

"I do watch athletics on TV now - more the track - I like to keep an eye out and watch."

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