Spence speaks sense

Jordan Spence has relished being involved in the thick of the action as West Ham United completed their pre-season training camp.

The 18-year-old defender was one of a handful of youngsters given the opportunity to join the first-team squad for the trip and made the most of the opportunity. His most recent outing on Thursday night saw him play at right-back as the Hammers drew 0-0 at Slovenian outfit ND Mura 05.

Spence said: "It was a good game and another opportunity for us all to get a run-out. With the game against Werder Bremem [last Saturday] being cancelled it was imperative that in these other games we get that we do well.

"It would have been nice to win the game but it was important to get some minutes under players' belts and to increase the quality and the intensity. We've been worked really hard and I know a lot of the boys are a lot fitter. We are quite tired as we have been worked hard the last 12 days but it has been good and it will stand us in good stead for what is to come."

Spence, who is with the Hammers this summer rather than the England squad at the UEFA European Under-19 Championship, said he had enjoyed playing at right-back - a position he has filled previously for the reserves, as well as during his loan at Leyton Orient last season and with the Young Lions. He is more used to centre-back but is just happy to be getting the chance to play.

"It's good experience," he said. "I like to say I can do a job in either position. As to where the manager tells me to play, I'm not going to say no to either and I'm going to go out there to try to give the best account of myself, for the team. So whether it's right-back, centre-half or up front, I'll go and do it."

It remains to be seen whether Spence will be with the 24-man squad that travels to China for next week's Barclays Asia Trophy in Beijing but he is determined regardless to keep up the good work done so far under the watchful eye of fitness coach Antonio Pintus.

"When the new manager came in last season, he emphasised that if we can get our fitness levels up then that is within our control and it can have a big influence on the games.

"I had a feeling that with Antonio there could be some difficult sessions but to be fair, a lot of them have been with the ball. It has been tough but it has been enjoyable. When you have done a hard session you come away and it's done and it's another one under your belt."