Sam stakes his claim

  • Sam Byram says West Ham United are feeling confident after back-to-back victories
  • Right-back keen to nail down starting place after making impressive return to action
  • Young defender was in good form in 3-1 win at Middlesbrough on Saturday

Sam Byram wants to make the right-back position his own after producing another assured display in make West Ham United’s 3-1 Premier League win at Middlesbrough.

Having returned from injury, the No22 was handed a start after impressing as a substitute in the home win over Crystal Palace, and took his opportunity with both feet at the Riverside Stadium.

While social media and fan forums are awash with supporters demanding the Club sign a new right-back, Byram is hoping to save the Board a few million pounds.

“I was glad to get the start after the last match,” confirmed the Essex-born defender. “I’m still trying to find my feet with regards match-fitness, because I’ve not played a right lot of football since my injury, so I think I’m growing as a player in the team.

“I’m just enjoying my football at the minute and look forward to every game. I want to play as much as I can, but the squad needs strength in depth and whoever we bring in will challenge whoever is in that position.

“I’m confident in my ability that I can play in this division and in this team and bring something to the squad. I’m just focusing on my game and hopefully I’ll get to keep playing.”

With 16 Premier League games still to play, Byram knows he could have a lengthy audition to cement his long-term future in the starting XI.

“When I was out I looked at the fixtures and thought I would be back in mid-January and there are still a lot of fixtures to come,” he continued. “I’m an optimistic person and try to keep smiling and will just stay positive and keep working hard.”

I’m confident in my ability that I can play in this division and in this team and bring something to the squad

Sam Byram

Sam Byram
On Saturday, the former Leeds United star stuck to his task on his return to the North East, particularly when faced with the lightning-quick Adama Traore in the second half, and wants to build on his performance over the closing months of the season.

“I saw Cress laughing at half-time when he saw he (Traore) had come over to my side!” Byram said with a trademark grin. “He is said to be the fastest player in the Premier League, so it was a test I’d not faced before.

“He’s obviously a different type of player, so you’ve just got to do what you can to try and stop him. I think we dealt with the test well and everyone is feeling really positive at the moment.

“I think you’ve just got to get as many people near him as possible! As you saw a few times, he can just run past players as if they’re not there, so as a team we did our best against him, but I’m sure that won’t be the last time it does it.”

It will not get any easier next time out, as the Hammers host Manchester City – the team Byram faced on his debut a year ago – but he is relishing the challenge.

“The atmosphere around the training ground and the changing room is probably the best it’s been in a while,” he confirmed. “I think the last two performances have really shown what we’re about and that we can play and create chances and score goals.

“If we can keep putting points on the board, we can keep looking up.

“We’ve got ten days to prepare, which is a lot of time to get on the training pitch and work on things ahead of the next game.”