Faubert display leaves Keen upbeat

Kevin Keen has paid tribute to Julien Faubert after his goalscoring contribution for West Ham United reserves on Monday night away to Aston Villa.

The 24-year-old Frenchman made an instant impact - scoring a superb goal inside a minute after a driving run and one-two with Jack Collison - in a valuable 45 minute run-out that will only stand him in good stead for the future. He had not played since suffering an achilles injury in a pre-season friendly against Sigma Olomouc on 17 July.

Walking off the pitch at half-time with a smile on his face but tired by his exertions, Faubert could be more than content with his return to action. Keen was also delighted, as he was with all of the first-teamers on view in the 2-1 defeat. "The big plusses from our point of view for West Ham is that Julien Faubert, Luis Boa Morte, James Collins and Calum Davenport came through their first games for quite a long time - in Julien's case for six months which is fabulous for him."

"It showed you what he's about," Keen said of that superb solo goal. "He's direct, he's pacy but at the same time he will work hard for the team. We hope once he's back to full fitness that he can really go into the first team and make a difference on that right side for us."

Stressing that "we don't want to get too excited" and that Faubert is still a little way of being up to full speed, Keen said there was nothing to read into the 24-year-old summer signing going off at half-time. "It was his first game since pre-season, it was just a matter of easing him into it - giving him a little taste of playing at Walsall, at the Bescot Stadium," he added with a smile.

What particularly impressed Keen was Faubert's willingness to defend. "He's a super kid. He's enthusiastic. He's not someone who is just going to go forward, he's going to work hard for the team which is something we need at the moment."

Reflecting in general on the game at Walsall's Bescot Stadium, Keen said Villa, the league leaders, probably deserved their victory - secured by two late goals. "Aston Villa were very good. They had a young team that have played a lot of reserve games together and I thought their movement and passing was a little bit better than ours.

"We defended really well - especially in the second half - but just in the last five minutes, with players coming back from injury and a few things like that, the fitness told. Overall I am pleased because those lads got back and come through it well."