Winston Reid: U23s game was the next step
Speaking after playing an hour of West Ham United U23s’ game against Wolfsburg ‘B’ on Wednesday night, Winston Reid admitted he is delighted to be back wearing the Claret and Blue.
The New Zealand defender, now in his tenth season with the Club, has been unavailable for first-team selection for almost a year-and-a-half after suffering a serious knee injury in a freak incident in a Premier League match at Swansea City in March 2018.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini revealed in his press conference last week, however, that the second longest-serving Hammer was ready to take the next step in his rehabilitation and feature for the Under-23 side this week.
“It was just nice to be back out there,” Reid told West Ham United TV after the match. “Obviously it’s well-known that I’ve been out for a long time, so it’s just nice to get back out there and play again.
“It was just a bad injury, and that’s what happened I guess. It’s taken a lot longer [to recover] than we first anticipated, but we finally got there in the end. This was sort of a step on the way really, and we reckon it’ll be normal from now on.”
The 31-year-old centre-back offered an assured presence in the U23s defence, slotting in alongside 19-year-old summer signing Gonçalo Cardoso.
Having made his first competitive appearance, Reid is now looking forward to the challenge of resuming training at the right level of intensity to optimise his recovery still further.
“It’s back to normal for me,” he said. “Training, obviously, when you’ve been out for a while takes time, and I understand that.
“I’ll probably be heading away on international duty, and then getting back into it, trying to find the right balance of training as much as possible and also when to step back from it.
“I’m just relieved I’m getting back into training and playing with the guys again.”
Reid will now hope to make his return on the international stage by linking up with New Zealand for a friendly with the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on 14 November.