Diego's delight

A year ago Diego Poyet was West Ham United’s penalty shootout hero in the UEFA Europa League victory over Maltese side Birkirkara.

The stage appeared set for the young midfielder to establish himself during his second season with the Hammers but, for one reason or another, things did not quite go to plan.

Poyet spent time on loan at MK Dons and first club Charlton Athletic, only for both clubs to endure difficult seasons which culminated in relegation from the Championship.

For the 21-year-old, this was a new experience after a meteoric rise from the Addicks’ reserve team to a Player of the Year accolade and a summer 2014 move to West Ham.

Speaking to whufc.com, Poyet reflected on his stop-start 2015/16 campaign and expressed his desire to forge a long-term future with the Hammers...

Diego, you are back in a West Ham kit, so how does that feel?

“Yes, it feels great to be back. It’s a nice place to be and I missed it when I was away. Going out on loan has positives, but I’ve missed training and being with the boys every day.

“It’s easier to get on with players with the club that you’re signed to, so I’ve missed some of the boys. I saw them before we met up and it’s nice to see them again and spend a lot of time with them.”

You all seem to be really enjoying the US Tour?

“The facilities are great and the hotel is great, but obviously the game was a bit disappointing with the result. Obviously it was about getting minutes and that was the most important thing in pre-season.

“We got what we wanted in terms of everybody being fit and getting through. I’m enjoying training – even the double sessions which maybe some players won’t enjoy as much!”

Without going into details, last season was difficult, so is it now a case of pressing the ‘Reset’ button?

“Yeah, to be honest at the end of last season I was thinking about coming back and getting ready to be a West Ham player again. Loans have positives and negatives as well and I would do anything to stay here, as I love it.”

A year ago this month you featured in the Europa League, so do you see this season’s competition as another chance to impress?

“I hope so. Obviously we don’t know what the gaffer is thinking, as it was disappointing that we got knocked out last year and didn’t really get into the competition, so I’m sure this year we’re going to really go for it and make sure we qualify and are in amongst the big boys.

“As long as we’re in the Europa League, that means there will be more chances to play matches, especially with the squad we have. I’m excited and thinking positively about it.”

Just finally, your father Gus has taken over as manager of Spanish La Liga side Betis, who happen to be supported by Adrian, so the pressure is on!

“That’s right! Adrian has told me that his whole family are Betis fans and have season tickets, so I’ll have to tell my old man to make sure they work hard and have a good pre-season, or else I’ll have Adrian on my back every day in training.

“Dad is happy. He had a spell in Greece and used it as a stepping stone to get a job in Spain so he’s excited. I spoke to him this week and I wish him all the best.”