Spector ready for Red Devils

Few West Ham United players are better equipped to plot a victory over Manchester United than Jonathan Spector.

The United States defender arrived at Old Trafford as a 17-year-old boy, spending three seasons with the Red Devils - the last of which was spent on loan at Charlton Athletic - before swapping Manchester for London permanently in June 2006.


The league-leaders have kept 12 consecutive clean sheets in the Premier League, helping goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar to set an English record 1,122 minutes without conceding and winning their last seven matches in the process. Having worked so closely with Sir Alex Ferguson and his staff himself, Spector is fully aware of the threat posed by the reigning champions.

"I think whenever you play Man United you're expecting a tough game. Obviously they're going to have a good amount of possession but at the same time I think we've been playing extremely well. We got a decent result against Arsenal without playing the way we know we can. I think we'll be looking to break on them because we've been doing that so well this year. Considering they push so many men forward, I think we'll have some opportunities."

Manchester United's defensive strength has been the pillar of the Red Devils' climb to the top of the Premier League table, but the 22-year-old insisted there was nothing elaborate or complicated about his former team's success at stopping their opponents from scoring.

"I don't know if it's a big secret. I just think they're just really well organised, they've got some great players and are playing well and are on a really good run at the moment. I don't know if there's a big secret to them. They're in-form and so are we so I'm looking forward to a good match."

While he is relishing the prospect of being involved in Sunday's fixture between the Premier League's two in-form sides, Spector also looks back happily on his formative years at Old Trafford. After arriving from the US Soccer Federation Academy in Florida as a wide-eyed teenager, the Illinois-born defender quickly grew acclimatised to his new life in the north of England, making eight appearances during his time at the club.

"I went there when I was 17 and spent a few years there. It was a great experience and opportunity for me. I learned a great deal from Sir Alex Ferguson, the coaching staff and the players there. I feel very fortunate to have that experience under my belt. The fans were also great while I was there. I'll never have a bad thing to say about the club and I look fondly back on my time there."

Looking forward, Spector is just happy to be back in action after five months out with a hip injury. After being involved in Gianfranco Zola's matchday squad for last Saturday's goalless draw at Arsenal, the 12-times capped international is eager to be selected against his old club on Sunday.

"To be honest I just couldn't be happier to be back playing. I spent a number of months on the sideline. The worst part of being a footballer is the injuries. For me, it was a significant amount of time, the most I have ever been out. I couldn't be happier to be back training, being around the team. There's a great team spirit and atmosphere at the club at the moment and I'm really excited to be part of it."