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Nathaniel John, West Ham Correspondent
Thursday, July 26, 2012
West Ham striker prepared to learn how to play in a wider role
West Ham striker Nicky Maynard has admitted that he will be willing to alter his natural game and learn how to play in the wide role of Sam Allardyce’s preferred 4-3-3 formation.
The 25-year-old forward made just 14 appearances for the Hammers last season, scoring two goals in the process, and the former Bristol City man has revealed that Allardyce has spoken to him about his positional role within the team.
“When I am playing wide in a three, the gaffer has pulled me aside and said that it is more than likely we will be playing in this formation next season and to just get used to playing that position more often than not,” said Maynard.
“It is not that he won’t play me up top, but he is likely to play me here, there and everywhere and so it is just another position for me to learn and get used to and get on the same wavelength as the midfielders.”
Despite his positional switch, Maynard is confident that he will still be able to play a more central striker’s role, when the time allows.
“That is my main position, though maybe not up top on my own, more with a two,” he said.
“But the gaffer has said that he is not going to stop me playing there, but he wants me to play out wide as well so I have a bit of versatility.
“It is down to me to work hard and as long as I am playing, in whatever position it is, I am going to do my best.”
Maynard scored his second goal of pre-season on Saturday afternoon in the Hammers’ 2-1 victory at Colchester United, with a neat volley following good work from Winston Reid, Gary O’Neil and Carlton Cole.
And the striker was heavily involved in West Ham’s second strike too, as he was brought down in the box by a clumsy challenge from Magnus Okuonghae, resulting in Mark Noble dispatching the subsequent penalty.
“It was nice to get another goal and hopefully I can get a few more before the season starts,” he said.
“I had a similar chance when we played Cardiff away and I blazed it over, so I was just concentrating on keeping it low which I managed, and it hit the floor and bounced up.
“I think me and Nobes (Mark Noble) got on the same wavelength a few times, especially for the penalty and we had some half chances as well.
“Pre-season is all about getting your fitness and sharpness back and I think the lads showed that they are getting up there now.
“We have gradually built our fitness and the lads are still enjoying it.”
The Hammers have signed another striker this summer in the form of Modibo Maiga, and with Allardyce’s hunt for another frontman well documented, Maynard welcomes the competition for places in the West Ham squad.
“I think that it is good and healthy for the team,” he said. “If we play the same formation and we have only got three strikers that are always going to play, then it is not going to bring the best out of you.
“With more competition, it is down to you to stake your claim for a place and it is only down to you to play at your best.”