Tonka on the up

James Tomkins has already found his stride ahead of the new season and cannot wait until it all gets going for real next month.

The England Under-21 defender was imperious last weekend in the 2-0 win against VfL Borussia Monchengladbach, playing longer than anyone else with an 81-minute run-out. It helped underline that this season will be a clean slate for everyone and that starting spots are up for grabs.

"Last season is all behind us," he said. "It is a new season, a fresh start under a new manager. What happened last season is gone. It is important to look to the future and what we can improve on, what we can affect and that is what is in front of us."


On Saturday, Tomkins was a pivotal part of the team. He was particularly pleased that the side were able to keep a clean sheet and told WHUTV that the two wins so far this summer had left the camp in upbeat mood.

"It was a good win as we were playing against a German team away from home. We didn't know what to expect but they were a good team. We performed on the day and it is important to keep that up during pre-season."

Tomkins particularly relished the intensity of the match, which was similar to a competitive encounter. "Sometimes people don't enjoy challenges during pre-season because they don't want to get injured. It happened to be a physical game and everyone was up for it.

"It just shows the passion of the lads. It was not just a pre-season game - people want to win matches still. Playing against a German team, there was always going to be a bit of a rivalry there."

Tomkins relished his extended involvement in the game, particularly as he got to show his ability as a right-back in the second half as well. "It did me good being out there that long. I wanted to stay out there and I didn't feel too bad fitness-wise.

"I had a go at right-back as well which was good. It was a good game for myself. I have got to take this forward and continue my fitness so I can get up to playing the 90.

"It is important to be versatile. If there are injuries, the manager can throw you on at any time in any position. You have to be able to handle that."