With West Ham United heading to his homeland on Thursday, Winston Reid has spent the past few weeks fielding questions galore about New Zealand.

While the All Whites captain welcomes the media attention surrounding the Hammers' long-distance Football United Tour, the defender was delighted to be concentrating 100 per cent on football again at the weekend.

The No2 was part of the side which drew 2-2 at Stevenage in their opening pre-season fixture, safely negotiating 45 minutes as West Ham began their preparations for the 2014/15 Barclays Premier League campaign.


"Obviously it was nice to be back into game mode, I guess," he agreed. "It was a bit hot out there, but we got through it and I got 45 minutes under my belt, which was the most important thing. We didn't pick any injuries, either, which was good."

Reid lined up alongside youngster Leo Chambers at the heart of the defence, while new boys Aaron Cresswell and Diego Poyet filled the left-back and defensive midfield berths respectively. The Kiwi said the pair, along with Senegal midfielder and half-time substitute Cheikhou Kouyate, had all settled in well since their recent arrivals.

"It's always nice to get the guys in early and Aaron, Cheikh and Diego have all come in and done well," he confirmed. "I'm sure they will be keen to push on forward from here and now."

All three are expected to be involved again when West Ham travel to Ipswich Town on Wednesday evening before joining the squad to fly out to New Zealand the following evening.

Reid was part of the Hammers side thrashed 5-1 at Portman Road in the Championship in January 2012 and 3-1 at the same venue in pre-season eight months later. With those games in mind, the centre-back wants an improved showing this time around.

"It's always about performances and getting minutes under your belt in pre-season and avoiding injuries as well. Hopefully come Thursday everyone will be all right and we'll jump on the plane and go to New Zealand."

Reid might have left Auckland 14 years ago, but he still has family and friends there, after spending time with film crews from New Zealand in recent weeks, he is relishing the return home.

"It's been nice to speak with journalists from back home instead of West Ham TV, so it's been great!" he joked. "Obviously I still play for the national team down there so I try to follow what's going on down there as much as possible.

"New Zealand is my home, so I'll always have an interest in what is going on down there."

One event that will go on down in New Zealand next week is the visit of teams from Reid's old school, Milford, and club, Takapuna, to a West Ham training session. The player is looking forward to meeting youngsters who hope to follow in his footsteps one day.

"It's exciting. It's a long time since I've been there so it'll be nice to go back. I played for the school and Takapuna between the ages of five and ten, when I moved to Denmark, so it's going to be nice to go back home and see them.

"It's going to be the middle of winter, but I can't complain! I'll be telling the guys to put a beanie hat on, and hopefully we'll get some sun on a couple of the days!

"We're going a long way around the world, so it'll be nice for the fans down there to come along and see how we train and everything. It'll be a good opportunity for us and for them."

*Tickets for the Football United Tour are on sale now!

West Ham United tackle Wellington Phoenix at Eden Park in Auckland on Wednesday 23 July (7.30pm), with prices starting from just 59 NZD (£30.20) for Adults and 20 NZD (£10.25) for Children.

Three days later, the Hammers take on Sydney FC at Westpac Stadium in Wellington (2pm) as part of a double-header that also includes Newcastle United's clash with the Phoenix. Ticket prices start from 95 NZD (£48) for Adults, 45 NZD (£22.80) for Children and 235 NZD (£119) for a Family (Two Adults/Two Children).

New Zealand-based supporters unable to attend the fixtures at Eden Park and Westpac Stadium will also be able to enjoy them live on SKY Arena pay-per-view television, priced at $24.99 per game and $39.95 for the Tour.

Tickets for West Ham's two Football United Tour matches are available to buy here.

Flight, ticket and accommodation packages for the Football United Tour are also on sale now, with prices starting from as little as NZ $216 (£110) per person. For full details, click here.

Football United Tour

Wellington Phoenix v West Ham United
Wednesday 23 July 2014, 7.30pm (local time)
Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand

Sydney FC v West Ham United
Saturday 26 July 2014, 2pm (local time)
Westpac Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand

Football United Tour