Tomkins takes honour

With the season done and dusted, football statistics website have taken the opportunity to review West Ham United's Player of the Season using their unique rating system of every performer that started at least 15 league games.

An area that is unlikely to require investment as the Hammers look to build next year is at centre-back. Manager Sam Allardyce is able to call upon the likes of James Collins, Winston Reid and James Tomkins in the position and it is the latter who has impressed most this term.

Tomkins ended the season with a commendable rating (7.15) that only Andy Carroll (7.22) bettered, though it's reasonable to suggest that Tomkins' rating over more league appearances (31 starts to Carroll's 12) is more impressive. In fact, only midfielders Mark Noble (38) and Kevin Nolan (33) made more starts than Tomkins (31) in England's top tier for West Ham this season, with the defender a regular in the Hammers' backline across the campaign.

This consistency in the back four helped to elevate his status at the club, with the 25-year-old starting in ten of the 14 games in which West Ham kept a clean sheet. This saw Tomkins win a number of admirers as the season progressed, with most fans feeling he is deserving of a regular first-team spot.

Collins and Reid both spent time on the sidelines at separate stages of the campaign, placing further onus on Tomkins to perform. He did so excellently, as his average rating suggests and some could suggest he has earned the tag of first-choice centre-back at the Boleyn Ground.

West Ham undoubtedly perform better with him in the starting XI. The Hammers' win percentage last season with Tomkins in the starting XI was significantly better (32.3%) than when he was missing (14.3%).

It is defensively that the Englishman won the plaudits and his displays in the heart of the backline saw him develop statistically calculated strengths of 'aerial duels' and 'concentration'. The two strengths are crucial assets for any centre-back if they are to repel attacks and Tomkins is more than capable of using them to his advantage.

Furthermore, he has gained a style of play of 'clears the ball out of defence often', showing how the defender is able to anticipate danger and alleviate pressure on the West Ham goal.

Tomkins enjoyed an impressive campaign for West Ham and his age means he is only likely to improve with further playing time next term. The Hammers have a solid defensive foundation to build on, which will undoubtedly aid their quest for a top half finish next season.

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