Patient Hendrie settling in well

Stephen Hendrie had long wait to join West Ham United, but the left-back’s patience is being rewarded

Stephen Hendrie had long wait to join West Ham United, but the left-back’s patience is being rewarded with an encouraging start to his career in Claret and Blue.

The former Hamilton Academical star made his Hammers debut as a substitute at Peterborough United before producing an eye-catching display in the 3-2 pre-season win at Southend United.

The quietly-spoken Scot admits that, with Hammer of the Year Aaron Cresswell sharing his position, he has a tough job on his hands to earn match-time, but he prepared to wait for his opportunity to shine in the long term.

“It was a good game to play in at Southend with a lot of goals, and it was good to get my first start, a good win and 60 minutes under my belt, so I’m happy with it,” the 20-year-old told West Ham TV.

“Obviously I’d rather we’d have kept a clean sheet, as a defender you don’t want the other team to score. We’d rather be winning 3-0 or 5-0, but even though the other team scored we got the win and that was good for the team.

Hendrie has spent the past three weeks training with his new teammates, having signed a pre-contract to join West Ham in January, and has quickly been accepted into the squad.

For the Scotland U21 international, playing and training with established full internationals has been a thrill in itself.

“It’s been brilliant, training with some of the players we get to train with. You could see on Saturday that Dimitri Payet is a fantastic player, scored two goals and has done well with the third one as well.

“It’s absolutely brilliant to be playing with players like him and to be at a club like West Ham, which is a family club and all the boys have welcomed me great. It’s been a good few weeks.

“Coming from a small but great club like Hamilton Accies down to a big club like West Ham in the Premier League has been unbelievable, to be honest with you.”

After spending his opening fortnight of pre-season with a small group in Ireland, Hendrie joined the full group at Chadwell Heath last week and feels things are coming together for the Hammers ahead of the Barclays Premier League kick-off at Arsenal on Sunday 9 August.

“There were two different squads, with the other group going to the Europa League, but now we’re all back together and that’s what you need to get to know all the new players and work on things.”

For Hendrie, one of his new teammates is Cresswell, who enjoyed an outstanding debut season himself last term.

The young Scot knows a starting place will be tough to earn, but he is mature and patient enough to know opportunities will come his way with the Hammers potentially fighting on four fronts this coming campaign.

“Aaron is unbelievable and won Player of the Year last season, so all I can do is work hard on the training ground and play pre-season games and see where it takes me.

“Hopefully I can get more game-time at Colchester on Tuesday and see what happens in the Europa League. I just need to see where it takes us.”