Ryan Fredericks says the Hammers are ready to go for the new Premier League campaign after they ended the pre-season programme with a thrilling Betway Cup clash against Athletic Club.
West Ham were edged out on penalties after Manuel Lanzini and Jack Wilshere struck to cancel out an early two-goal blast from the visitors, but even more valuable for Fredericks were the 81 minutes he spent on the pitch.
The right-back hasn’t featured since the Hammers returned from China due to a minor ankle problem, so he was delighted to add to his own personal preparations against the Spaniards.
He was also thrilled to be back in front of a London Stadium crowd, as the Hammers count down to next Saturday’s season opener against Manchester City.
“It’s always nice to come home,” he smiled. “We’ve been all over the world for the last five to six weeks, so it’s nice to end it playing back at home.
“It’s been a frustrating last couple of weeks. I rolled my ankle and it was just a precaution that I wasn’t involved in the last couple of games, so today was valuable minutes on the pitch.
“That’s the most important thing because you can do all you want in training, all the running and fitness you want, but nothing gets you prepared like games, so it was nice to get 80-odd minutes today.”
“We’re feeling ready for the start of the Premier League season now. At times we’ve played some good stuff this pre-season, we’ve worked on a lot and bedded in a few new players.
“We’re confident for the new season and looking to push on and improve on what we did last season.”
We’ve got a lot of exciting players on the pitch and I think we showed today we can score at any given moment
Fredericks felt the Hammers showed their attacking prowess in the meeting with Bilbao, and is excited for the new campaign both on a team and personal level.
He added: “Today’s game shows we’re in for an exciting season. If we get certain things right at the back, and defensively it’s not just a back four that has to defend, we have to defend as a team and I’m sure we will.
“We’ve got a lot of exciting players on the pitch and I think we showed today we can score at any given moment. We’re confident that we’re going to have an exciting season.
“Haller and Fornals are fitting in really well, not just on the pitch but off it too. It gives us two more options, we already had a lot of good options so to add quality like that is going to put us in good stead for the season.
“I’m looking forward to the new season a lot. It was a stop-start season for me last year, but it was good to end it well. It’ll be nice to have a more consistent season and play more games.
“I’ve got to put in the performances and hopefully the Gaffer will put the trust in me and I can do that this season.”