Richard On Full Debut

Richard Garcia has thanked his senior colleagues for helping him get through his full debut at Bolton on Saturday and says: 'now for Upton Park!'

Richard made his first start for West Ham in the 1-0 defeat at the Reebok Stadium at the weekend to add to substitute appearances at Reading in the Worthington Cup, which resulted in a penalty shoot-out defeat after extra-time, and the 3-0 loss at Leeds on the opening day of the year.

He admits a run out at home would be his next hope, and says: "I'm waiting for my chance to grace Upton Park and hopefully under better circumstances. All the games have been a good experience for me so hopefully I can just stay in the squad and progress."

Richard is under no illusions about what led to the first start of his fledgling career, and he says: "We had a few injuries like Don Hutchison, Trevor Sinclair and Michael Carrick so I suppose I was a replacement for them. I got in there and did my best.

"I was told I had a chance the day before and then Glenn confirmed it on Saturday.

"Don was struggling with his groin and failed his fitness test on the day so I got the nod.

"I think it would have been great if we had won because it would have taken us right up the table, but unfortunately it wasn't to be.

"I had to adjust to the speed of the game and eventually I got the hang of it. It was good and I really enjoyed myself.

"You get to grips with the pace of the game when you start and you get the ball a bit more, so it was nice to make my debut and I will take it from there."

It was a case of rolling back the years as Richard took his position in centre midfield alongside erstwhile FA Youth Cup winning colleague Joe Cole, and he adds: "It is good to be alongside the young lads when you go in but it is good to be alongside everyone. I think I had a piece of advice from everybody, which was good.

"The boys really helped me play and enjoy myself in my first game. I tried to take it as any other game, there were a few nerves but I got into it more and more as the game progressed."

Richard nearly covered himself in glory with a second half header from a Vladimir Labant corner, and says: "I thought it was going in but unfortunately it didn't. None of our chances went in, they tended to go just past the post or over the bar - it wasn't our day.

"We dominated most of the game but we just couldn't score and they got the lucky break. They only had one chance in the whole game and they scored - it was a combination of luck and performance."

Richard says his team mates were desperate to overcome the disappointment of last week's FA Cup exit, and adds: "It was a crushing defeat on Wednesday because we played so well and to lose in the last minute was really a blow.

"Full credit to the lads that picked themselves up from the Chelsea game to play really well on Saturday. Hopefully we can regroup and come back with a string of wins after the two week break."

Richard hopes to earn a new contract this summer when his current one expires, and adds: "I'm very happy here. West Ham is a great club and at the moment I am really enjoying myself.

"I'm just happy to be in the squad and on the brink so hopefully I can push up sooner or later.

"It is good experience and hopefully I will just be in the frame the same as I have been. It is the same as normal, really.

"As soon as Don and Michael are fit I'm sure they will go back into the side."

Richard's fellow midfielder John Moncur did not travel to the game at the weekend as he had a slight knee injury.