Spence extends City stay

Jordan Spence is having the time of his life at Bristol City.

Two days after making his England Under-21 bow, the 20-year-old has extended his spell until the end of the Championship season on 7 May. Spence has shone in his first four matches at Ashton Gate, helping the team to three wins in four matches and making the right-back position his own.

He did not think twice about staying for longer and could still then return to West Ham United with a chance of figuring in the Barclays Premier League before the top-flight campaign closes on 22 May. After that could yet be a dream call for the Young Lions at the UEFA U21 EURO in the summer.

But first, Spence is just delighted to be playing regular football at a high standard.

"Three wins in four matches has been a good start," he told whufc.com. "When I first signed, they were on the back of two wins but it was nice to be able to come and keep that winning momentum.

"It is brilliant to be playing games, playing and winning football matches is what it is all about and when those two things work in tandem there is nothing better."

Living in the south-west has not fazed the homegrown Hammer after previous successful temporary spells with Leyton Orient and Scunthorpe United in his career.

"It is a great club, that is why I am here. I had heard good things from other people. I am living in a really lovely city, there is a great bunch of lads and a good coaching and managerial set-up. I was really grateful for Keith Millen giving me the chance to come down and play. Hopefully I can repay that faith."

With the Hammers first team in a survival scrap, Spence knew chances may be limited to force his way into Avram Grant's thinking. He was eager to leave reserve-team football behind and prove his worth in a high-pressure situation - hopefully with the aim of staking his Boleyn claims in future.

"It had come to the stage of the season where it was important to go out and play football. I am obviously really thankful for this move. It is a real challenge, from top to bottom the results are really unpredictable. Like the Premier League, in the Championship no game is a given and there are plenty of real quality sides."

Spence is certainly playing alongside quality, with England goalkeeper David James behind him in the City goal - "he is a great character on the pitch and in the dressing room" - and the defender was keen to stress he was also aware of the need to use his loan as a valuable learning curve.

He is relishing being used in a full-back position but will play wherever Millen chooses to deploy him. "I would say that I am comfortable in both position. I do enjoy right-back and the opportunity to join in the attacks, it is a different challenge. I just like to play wherever anyone wants to use me."

Certainly Spence aspires to becoming a starter for the Hammers, having had a brief taste of top-flight action on the last day of last season. "My long-term plan is to play for West Ham United and it would be nice to come back and play. Of course it is up to the manager but this loan move can only help me."

What will also help is if Spence furthers his international experience. He has long been in the Young Lions set-up, although the jump from U20s to U21s was the hardest to take before this week's appearance in a 2-1 home defeat by Iceland.

"I give thanks to God that I have been [with England] since I was 16. It is always special. It added to it for me this time because I hadn't been involved for a while. I really enjoyed the whole time, being with the squad and getting the chance to push on.

Being part of Stuart Pearce's plans for the summer finals will be a tough ask, although the fact that Steve Wigley is the No2 for Bristol City and the U21s could be a positive. He is also receiving plenty of encouragement from the Hammers coaching staff, who have kept in close contact with him since he first made the loan move west on 3 March.

"There is a massive pool of players and a high number of young players in my position around the country. I don't know what will happen but all I can do is be as good as I can be. I need to finish the season strongly and see where it takes me. There is so much time left but, of course, I would love to go to the finals and represent my country again."