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West Ham boss: I would have liked Tomkins in my squad this season

PUBLISHED: 08:31 14 October 2016

Slaven Bilic at his Press Conference at Rush Green

Slaven Bilic at his Press Conference at Rush Green

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Hammers manager reiterates that he did not want defender to leave the club for Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace's James Tomkins celebrates scoring his side's his side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at Selhurst Park, London.Crystal Palace's James Tomkins celebrates scoring his side's his side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at Selhurst Park, London.

West Ham will come up against former Hammer James Tomkins in Crystal Palace colours on Saturday and manager Slaven Bilic admitted that he would have liked the central defender in his squad for the game.

The 27-year-old move to Selhurst Park in the summer for £10million pounds, but it was not a move that Bilic wanted to see.

“I didn’t want him to leave and last year he played many games for us in different positions, so it was very good to have him in the squad,” explained the manager.

“But I couldn’t guarantee that he was going to play week-in, week-out. He didn’t want to leave either, he is West Ham born and bred, but he wanted a guarantee and I couldn’t give it to him.”

Crystal Palace's Christian Benteke gives a thumbs up to the fans after the Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool.Crystal Palace's Christian Benteke gives a thumbs up to the fans after the Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool.

Tomkins played much of last season at right-back for the Hammers as he fell behind Winston Reid, Angelo Ogbonna and James Collins for a central defensive berth and he excelled in the position, playing his part in wins at Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City in that position.

But he became frustrated in the position and when the chance to go and play regularly under Alan Pardew came along, he grabbed it and has been an important part of the side all season.

“We have replaced him with other players who are also very versatile,” said Bilic, hinting at the disappointing Havard Nordtveit. “James is a good player and he helped us last year and if he was here he would be playing, not sitting in the stands.

“If I didn’t think he was a good player he wouldn’t have played 30 games last season and that included a couple of injuries he had.

West Ham United's James Tomkins (right) acknowledges the away fans as he leaves the field of play with an injury during the Barclays Premier League match at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton.West Ham United's James Tomkins (right) acknowledges the away fans as he leaves the field of play with an injury during the Barclays Premier League match at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton.

“But you can’t ever guarantee a player a place. There are no guarantees, you want to keep your players on their toes.”

West Ham will also come up against striker Christian Benteke, who Bilic admitted was on his shopping list in the summer.

The former Liverpool man has settled quickly at Selhurst Park, scoring three goals, but the manager insisted there were reasons why he has looked impressive, while West Ham’s new boys have failed to make an impression.

“Benteke is different because he didn’t have to adjust to the style of the Premier League,” explained the West Ham manager. “With our new players they came from different countries and some of them were not playing regularly for their clubs so they need time to settle in.”

Andros Townsend, Crystal PalaceAndros Townsend, Crystal Palace

Palace bought players already playing in the Premier League like Andros Townsend, Tomkins and Benteke and that seems to have been the secret of their success compared to the Hammers disastrous one.

West Ham will come up against former Hammer James Tomkins on Saturday and manager Slaven Bilic admitted that he would have liked the central defender in his squad for the game.

The 27-year-old move to Selhurst Park in the summer for £10million pounds, but it was not a move that Bilic wanted to see.

“I didn’t want him to leave and last year he played many games for us in different positions, so it was very good to have him in the squad,” explained the manager.

“But I couldn’t guarantee that he was going to play week-in, week-out. He didn’t want to leave either, he is West Ham born and bred, but he wanted a guarantee and I couldn’t give it to him.”

Tomkins played much of last season at right-back for the Hammers as he fell behind Winston Reid, Angelo Ogbonna and James Collins for a central defensive berth and he excelled in the position, playing his part in wins at Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City in that position.

But he became frustrated in the position and when the chance to go and play regularly under Alan Pardew came along, he grabbed it and has been an important part of the side all season.

“We have replaced him with other players who are also very versatile,” said Bilic, hinting at the disappointing Havard Nordtveit. “James is a good player and he helped us last year and if he was here he would be playing, not sitting in the stands.

“If I didn’t think he was a good player he wouldn’t have played 30 games last season and that included a couple of injuries he had.

“But you can’t ever guarantee a player a place. There are no guarantees, you want to keep your players on their toes.”

West Ham will also come up against striker Christian Benteke, who Bilic admitted was on his shopping list in the summer.

The former Liverpool man has settled quickly at Selhurst Park, scoring three goals, but the manager insisted there were reasons why he has looked impressive, while West Ham’s new boys have failed to make an impression.

“Benteke is different because he didn’t have to adjust to the style of the Premier League,” explained the West Ham manager. “With our new players they came from different countries and some of them were not playing regularly for their clubs so they need time to settle in.”

Palace bought players already playing in the Premier League like Andros Townsend, Tomkins and Benteke and that seems to have been the secret of their success compared to the Hammers disastrous one.

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