Richard: No Regrets

Richard Garcia insists he has no regrets about signing a new deal at Upton Park this summer - even though he acknowledges West Ham's midfield is one of the best in the country.

Richard, who played nearly the whole game on the right hand side in the 3-1 win at Norwich City on Tuesday, says: "I couldn't think of a harder midfield to get into but you have to set your standards high and I welcome the challenge."

Richard could easily have exercised his right to move on in the summer as he was out of contract, but he is confident enough in his own ability to have made the decision to stay - and battle it out with the likes of Trevor Sinclair, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick and Steve Lomas.

There were indeed, several clubs who had taken notice of his performances in the reserves last season and were keen to make a move if he hadn't signed a new deal.

None of which concerns Richard, who says enthusiastically: "Hopefully it will be a big season for me, but I will just take it one day at a time," he says.

He feels the continuity in the squad, with no wholesale changes being made over the summer, can only be of benefit, and adds: "If you have got the same lads around, the team morale is a lot higher, and hopefully people will be playing in the same spots every week."

He is predicting good things for the upcoming campaign, and says: "I think the boys have prepared themselves quite well and hopefully we can do even better than last season."

He was the only player to perform in both halves of the first pre-season game, at Leyton Orient, though he did give way to severe cramp in the second half.

It was his first return to the Brisbane Road ground where he broke his leg two seasons ago while on loan at Leyton Orient - in a challenge with Grant McCann, who was on loan at Cheltenham at the time.

But he insists that the incident was not on his mind as he stepped out, and says: "I just thought I would go and play - I have put that behind me."