Aaron Cresswell is eager to make up for lost time after making his first pre-season appearance of the summer.
The popular defender suffered a calf injury during the first week of training in Switzerland a month ago, ruling him out of West Ham United’s warm-up fixtures with Wycombe Wanderers, Preston North End, Aston Villa, Ipswich Town and 1. FSV Mainz 05.
However, the left-back returned with an assist for Chicharito’s winning goal in Friday’s 1-0 victory over Angers SCO in Austria and is now targeting a strong finish to pre-season to catch the eye of manager Manuel Pellegrini.
Should he do so, Cresswell is hopeful of featuring against the club he represented as a schoolboy, Liverpool, at Anfield on Sunday.
I played my first pre-season game a little bit later than I’d hoped, but it was good to get 60 minutes under my belt on Friday night
“It’s obviously been a frustrating few weeks for me, having picked up a little niggle in training,” said the 28-year-old. “I thought I’d be back quicker, but it obviously wasn’t to be.
“I played my first pre-season game a little bit later than I’d hoped, but it was good to get 60 minutes under my belt on Friday night. I was pretty happy with my night’s work. It was really hot out there, which made it more difficult, but I fully enjoyed it.
“I had a good week’s training in Austria last week and I’ll aim to do the same at Rush Green this week as we prepare for Liverpool on Sunday. Being from Liverpool and being with the club as a kid, it’s obviously a game I’d love to play in, but we will see what happens.”
Whether he starts at Anfield or not, Cresswell believes the West Ham squad are in positive mood as they prepare for the start of the 2018/19 Premier League season.
The players have enjoyed five weeks of intensive but enjoyable work under Pellegrini and his coaching staff, with seven new signings providing fresh impetus as the Hammers seek to bounce back from an underwhelming 2017/18 campaign.
“There is a good atmosphere around the place at the minute,” the No3 confirmed. “We spent 12 days around each other in Switzerland and got to meet all the new lads, then we had another week in Austria to keep building that spirit in the squad.
“They’ve all settled in really quickly and will definitely add a lot to the squad this season. We’ve brought in top quality players and there is going to be real competition for places all over the pitch, which is what you want if you want to be challenging at the right end of the league.
“It’s an exciting time to be at West Ham, but we all need to keep focused and keep working hard as nothing comes easy in the Premier League and we want to start the season on a positive note.”
Sunday’s Premier League opener at Liverpool will be screened live in the UK by Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League, with kick-off at 1.30pm BST.