Pantsil pleased to play a part

John Pantsil has pledged to continue giving his all for West Ham United after an outstanding display off the bench against Manchester United.

Along with the likes of Jonathan Spector - who played in three positions during the course of the 2-1 win against the champions - Pantsil has proved an invaluable part of the squad during a tricky time with injuries. The Ghanaian international entered the fray on Saturday three minutes into the second half, when Nolberto Solano limped out, with the trailing Hammers facing an uphill battle to turn things around.

"I enjoyed it," he said. "I came on when we were 1-0 down and we have won 2-1. It was very good for us and all the players are very happy. I am very happy with the performance." Pantsil again featured in an unfamiliar right-midfield role but, having helped make the winning goal last week at Middlesbrough, he has proved his worth - not least with one driving run through the heart of the United midfield.

"The manager gave me the role he wanted to play and I am happy to do what is necessary for the team. Every player wants to play but in this team, we have got players who are very good. When it is not your chance, you have to wait for it. But when you come in you have to do what you can for the club."

Indeed, while chances have been few and far between for the summer 2006 signing from Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Pantsil has only one goal in mind - giving his all in claret and blue. "When I am not playing I am training hard and playing in the reserve league as well. It is also competitive. I respect that and I have to wait until the time comes. When the manager asks me to go in, I have to fight for my place."

Pantsil, like Senegal forward Henri Camara, is set to leave the Boleyn Ground next week for up to a month, with Ghana hosting the 2008 African Cup of Nations. A veteran of the 2002 and 2006 editions, he is eager to represent his country on home soil with the finals running between 20 January and 10 February

The 26-year-old has been selected in a provisional 40-man training camp that is due to gather in Dubai, with the final 23-man selection to be confirmed by 10 January. He said: "Our people are expecting more from the Ghanaian players - they want us to take the cup. In previous years, the hosts have won and they are expecting us to do the same. We went to the [2006] World Cup [second round] and our fans are expecting more. They want us to do better."

First of all comes the trip to Arsenal on New Year's Day and Pantsil has his club commitments as a firm priority. "It is a big game," he said. "We are looking forward to it. We have got a great squad and we must do our best. At the end of the season, we want to be playing European football. We all want European nights at Upton Park and everyone is ready to give their all."