Tomkins relishing centre half battle

James Tomkins is relishing the contest he and the other centre halves at West Ham United face this season to stake their claim for a place in Slaven Bilic’s starting line-up.

The Hammers have the luxury of being able to call upon Tomkins, Winston Reid, James Collins and Angelo Ogbonna, with the former and the latter being the pairing for Saturday’s friendly at Charlton Athletic.

Tomkins was pleased to partner former Juventus man Ogbonna for the first time at The Valley and was impressed with him and another of the new arrivals, Dimitri Payet.

He said: “It was nice to play alongside another partner, his English is quite good so he was talking quite a lot which was good.

“It’s nice to play with someone different and it’s going to be a good contest to see who’s going to play there at the start of the season as we have a lot of good individuals at centre half.

“I relish that competition for sure, it keeps you on your toes and shows you that’s nobody’s guaranteed a place.

“Saturday was my first chance to play with Payet and he gets in those holes and causes defences problems. He looks like a great acquisition for the team and if he can link up with Sakho like he did a few times today then we’ll get bundles of goals.

“I enjoyed playing with him today, just like the others and Sakho’s looking sharp as ever as well.”

The games continue to come thick and fast, with Norwich on Tuesday next on the agenda and Tomkins says the team is getting better with every match.

He added: “It seems like a game every couple of days so we’ll have another good contest on Tuesday night. It’s not common to play Premier League teams before the season starts, but that will be a good game for us to see how far we’ve come really.

“We’re all looking forward to that and then there’s another game Thursday and another one Sunday. They’re coming thick and fast, which I think is good for fitness and match sharpness.”

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