Football is about the unit

Winston Reid says his fine defensive form this season is as much to do with his team-mates as it is his own ability.

The West Ham United centre-back has been a consistently impressive figure at the heart of the Hammers' back four this season, whoever he has played alongside.

The No2 has started 20 of West Ham's 22 Barclays Premier League matches, partnering James Tomkins eleven times, James Collins on seven occasions and lining up in a back-three twice.

Reid has also adapted well to playing alongside two new full-backs in Carl Jenkinson and Aaron Cresswell and deep-lying midfielder Alex Song, helping West Ham to go into the closing months of the season with very real hopes of qualifying for European football.

"There isn't really a secret to defending, as it's all about who you play alongside," wrote Reid in his new weekly online Fanbookz column. "You have routines at the training ground and you have to work together to make sure we concede as few as possible.

"At the end of the day it doesn't matter how many balls I've headed, or how many clearances I've made personally, if the team still concedes six or seven goals the statistics aren't of use to anyone.

"Football is about the unit rather than the individual. The way we try to work as a defensive line is to ensure that everyone does his job, which makes it easier for each other. If you look at players that have come into the side for us this season, they've easily been able to slot in to the back line whenever a player's been injured.

"It's also great having the defensive cover in front of us, and someone who has been key to our season is Alex Song. Alex stopped with his national team [Cameroon] meaning we have him during the African Cup of Nations, and while no-one knows what's gone on behind the scenes, it's brilliant to have him at the Club.

"Alex is a great guy to have around, he's a funny character and he brings a lot of quality into the team. When you've played at clubs like Arsenal and Barcelona, you have to have a bit of quality to play for those sides."

Reid and his team-mates head to Bristol City for an FA Cup fourth-round tie on Sunday knowing victory over the League One high-fliers will take them one step further down the road to Wembley.

However, the New Zealand international goes west with the media speculating on an almost daily basis over his future plans. For his part, the 26-year-old says he remains 100 per cent focused on helping West Ham to maintain their strong form.

"People often ask me whether January is a strange month for footballers because of the transfer window and gossip - to be honest as players we don't really notice it that much," he explained. "It's not like we look out for news about players, and it's mainly the media surrounding football as to why there's always a lot of talk about transfers - but players honestly don't really take notice of it that much."