Fabio Daprela was one of the real positives from last season and is back at the club looking to establish himself as a proven Barclays Premier League performer in 2010/11.
The 19-year-old ended the last campaign on a high, turning in a solid display at left-back in the 1-1 draw with Manchester City. Overall, Daprela played seven times in what was his first season in English football and more than held his own. However, he knows he faces real competition from the fit-again Herita Ilunga for the starting left-back berth.
"It would be nice to start in the team in the way I finished last season," he told WHUTV. "I hope to play more games this season but we will see. Everything is decided by the manager of course. Now I know how to be around the team."
A Swiss youth international, Daprela was happy to be at Chadwell Heath on the first day of training - despite the demands placed on the players. "I am happy to be here. It was nice to have a holiday but good to be back now to work hard for the pre-season. I was back in Switzerland with my family, girlfriend and friends this summer. It was nice to relax but now we are ready to work again.
"Everybody goes away with their families, they want to be on their own and relax. Now we are here and it is exciting times with the new manager. It is normal when you start pre-season for the training to be hard. You are working every day, sometimes twice a day. It is very tough but it is important to be fit."
After a couple of weeks at the training ground, the Hammers will head to Germany for an eight-day camp designed to take their fitness to the next level. "The training camp is very intensive. It will be nice to be in Germany it is a nice country but it will be hard work and everyone knows what we have to do.
"We hope to finish much higher than last season and win as many matches as possible. Before we start, we will play against Deportivo La Coruna. It is good to test yourselves against different teams in the pre-season."
It all then gets under way for real on 14 August, when the Hammers travel to Aston Villa for the first match of the new season. Daprela is not fazed by what appears a tough start on paper. "We have good players. This match is OK. It will be hard but we are a good team and we can go for a good result. I see it as a positive."