Right man, right time, right place

James Tomkins has been in the right place at the right time for West Ham United this season
James Tomkins has been in the right place at the right time for West Ham United this season.

In the five matches that the No5 has started at right-back, the Hammers have not conceded a single Barclays Premier League goal!

With a record of three wins and two goalless draws from those five fixtures, it should come as no surprise that Tomkins is enjoying his new position.

“I always seem to say that it is very new to me and I am still trying to learn the position, but I am really enjoying it as it helps with my game,” said the Essex-born defender, who has started at right-back in victories over Arsenal, Liverpool and Newcastle United, and recent 0-0 draws with Manchester United and Stoke City.

“I am just trying to do the best I can defensively. I know I can do a job there. Going forward is always more difficult, but hopefully I am getting there.

“I think it is just a case of knowing when to go forward. Against Stoke last Saturday, I pushed on a bit more and that comes with the confidence of playing there and getting used to the position.”

Tomkins has clearly gained the confidence of manager Slaven Bilic in his new position, and looks set to keep his place on the right of the back four for Sunday’s trip to Swansea City.

While his first job is to keep goals out of the net, the 26-year-old knows a modern full-back also has to help his side to attack whenever the opportunity arises – a part of his game Tomkins believes is improving with every game he plays.

“I think the manager knows that going forward will be more difficult for me and at times he tells me to stop getting forward when I am trying to gallop towards the other goal!” he smiled.

“Defensively he knows I can do a job, but you have to strike the balance. Hopefully I am getting used to when to go forward and when to stay back.

“Last weekend, he was pretty much their star man I was playing against – Arnautovic – so to play well against him does give me confidence. He makes good runs inside and he scored two goals against Man City doing that, so we talked about that in the meeting before the game.

“The gaffer has put his faith in me and defensively we look quite solid as a back four and we have got clean sheets from that. We just need to get goals at the other end too.”

Looking ahead to Sunday’s game at the Liberty Stadium, Tomkins is desperate to add to Swansea’s troubles by extending their winless run to seven games – ending West Ham’s own six-game streak without a victory in the process.

“You never know what you are going to get with a team who have just changed their manager,” he observed. “We will see what sort of team we will face on the day, but they are still a good team. A couple of bad results doesn’t make them a bad team.

“I know they are down there though so if we can get on top of them, the crowd are going to get on them. Everybody is looking forward to it and hopefully we can get some points on the board.”