Tomka signs new deal

James Tomkins has become the latest West Ham United youngster to see their long-term future secured at the club.

With the likes of Bondz 'Gala, Joe Widdowson, Ashley Miller and Freddie Sears all agreeing new deals recently, the England Under-19 defender said of his improved terms until 2011: "I have signed a contract extension to my existing deal. It is obviously good that West Ham have come to me and offered me one. It is really great news and it has been a good end to the season for me. I have got the contract and that gives me confidence going into the games. It shows what West Ham think of me."

The 19-year-old homegrown talent has enjoyed a rapid rise in recent weeks since his first-team debut away to Everton on 22 March and could face his biggest test this weekend away to Manchester United. He has also made two other starts and one substitute appearance, with his most recent run-out being a full 90 minutes against Newcastle United last weekend. In the 2-2 draw at the Boleyn Ground, Tomkins acquitted himself well against Obafemi Martins and Mark Viduka, while there was also the threat of Michael Owen in a withdrawn role.

"It was good, another good experience for me," he said, having already come up against the likes of Yakubu and Kenwyne Jones in recent weeks. "Again I was playing against some world-class strikers in Viduka and Martins so it was a good test. I did OK - there is room for improvement but I am sure I will get there in the end. I am learning with every game and I am just enjoying it at the moment. Playing against these sorts of players, week-in, week out is brilliant for me. I am learning from it and enjoying it."

Of the Newcastle match itself, Tomkins said the team were unlucky not to take all three points. "We were brilliant in the opening half-hour. We were popping the ball around. I think it was as good as we have played all season in that spell. We have gone in 2-2 at half-time and we didn't deserve that at all really. But we can learn from it and it just shows what we can do. We came out with good character in the second half and we could have nicked it."