Ryan Fredericks might have only had four minutes on the pitch in Monday night’s 3-0 victory over Sheffield United, but that was more than enough time for the No24 to make his mark.
Fredericks struck his team’s third goal of a productive night at London Stadium, collecting a pass from Saïd Benrahma inside the box before drilling with precision to beat Aaron Ramsdale inside his near post.
With just four career goals in 218 senior appearances, the 28-year-old cherishes every time he appears on the scoresheet and this was no different, not least because it set the seal on a commanding win for the Hammers.
“I didn’t expect so much to happen in the four minutes I was on the pitch!” he explained. “It’s always nice to score – I don’t get many so whenever I do, I remember it.
“It’s a very important win for us too. They’re a very dangerous team – I know they’re at the bottom of the league, but you can see that they caused us a few problems today and had a few chances.
“Łukasz pulled off a few good saves and the win puts us in a great position now and we just want to stay there.”
Three points against the Blades took the Hammers back into the Premier League’s top four – until Chelsea took on Newcastle United later on Monday night at least – and Fredericks credits his side’s rise up the table this term to the influence of manager David Moyes.
With just 14 games remaining this term now, the right-back is determined to help his side remain in the hunt for European football.
“The biggest change is the manager having a pre-season with us,” he continued. “He’s got us a lot fitter this season – we worked our nuts off in the off season and we’re reaping the benefits of that now.
“He sets us up in a good way for every game and it’s just our mindset really. When you’re down there you can play good stuff, but things seem to go against your, but when you’re towards the top of the table things go your way.
“Everything is going our way now, we’ve brought in some very good players and we’re all enjoying it.
“Of course we’re confident and this far into the season you’re not up there because of luck. If you’re there at this stage you deserve to be there. We’re up there with the so-called big boys in the top six and we want to stay there. We go into every game, especially here, expecting to win.”
Fredericks concluded with a word on his skipper and friend Declan Rice, who added another string to his bow by converting the first penalty he has taken in his senior career to get the Hammers up and running against the Blades.
“We wouldn’t expect anything less from Dec,” he added. “He can pretty much do everything.
“He’s still got a lot more to show, we see every day in training things that a lot of people won’t realise he can do but I’m sure over the years he will bring that out and go on to be one of the best players in the league.”