Enner ready for action

Enner Valencia cannot wait to make his first-team return after making a successful comeback from a serious leg injury.

The No11 caught the eye during a late cameo in Friday’s 4-3 friendly defeat by Reading at the Boleyn Ground, running hard, looking sharp and setting up a late goal for Andy Carroll.

The Ecuador forward is now looking to improve his match-fitness and catch the attention of manager Slaven Bilic, with the hope of returning to West Ham United’s starting XI.

“I’m very happy that I managed to play 15 minutes,” the South American told West Ham TV. “I’m just getting ready now for when the league comes back.”

For Valencia, his recent injury setback could not have come at a more inopportune moment – just minutes after he had scored his first goal of the season in the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round first-leg tie with Astra Giurgiu back in early August.

The 25-year-old’s leg issues saw him miss West Ham’s opening eight Barclays Premier League matches, but he is now back in business and eager to make up for lost time.

“I was looking forward to this season, and was very excited at the start,” he revealed. “Unfortunately I got that setback where I got injured in the first game I played. I’m looking forward to what’s to come and very happy to be available for the manager.”

While he may not have been available himself, Valencia has kept a close eye on proceedings on the pitch, watching the Hammers make a strong start to the 2015/16 campaign.

“The team is playing very well the way they are playing. The players that are starting are doing very well and I have to work hard to get my place back.

“I watched every single game; our away form has been fantastic. We’ve not been as good at home but we are working on that. Hopefully our home form will improve.”

While Club comes first, Valencia has also maintained contact with his national side, Ecuador, who made a stunning start to qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The man who scored three times at the 2014 finals stayed up late to watch his compatriots score a 2-0 win in Argentina in their opening qualifier – their first-ever such victory in Buenos Aires.

“It was an unbelievable game,” he smiled. “It was the first time that Ecuador won in Argentina in World Cup qualifying. I am very excited and looking forward to get back into the national team and being with my teammates as well.”