He seemed to be reading the play well and was getting caught behind as mush as he has been in recent weeks. Right from the word go he knew what he had to do and that was not to allow Benteke any space to let him turn on the ball. Tomkins was always first to the ball and put in some great last ditch tackles to save the team.
I have felt extremely sorry for Tomkins as he came back from a poor Olympics for himself personally and lost his place in the team to the new signing James Collins. The young centre back was in my eyes joint Player of the Year alongside Mark Noble and deserved it as much as him but going to the Olympics as part of Stuart Pearce’s squad put a dampener on his career. He didn’t get much of a chance in the Olympics starting eleven but when he did he wasn’t at his best and it made a lot of people outside of the West Ham community question his ability.
So with going to the Olympics he meant him missing the majority of pre-season with West Ham where manager Sam Allardyce had teamed together Collins and Winston Reid and made them his two main centre backs. So Tomkins has had to deal with being on the bench for the Hammers after probably his best season in a West Ham shirt. Allardyce didn’t help to much with his confidence by playing him out of position in defensive centre midfield and at right back sometimes. All West Ham fans could see straight away that Tomkins wasn’t comfortable in those positions and yes did struggle quite a lot.
Collins got injured a while back which meant a starting place at centre back for Tomkins and I was absolutely delighted about this as I have always said that my starting two at the back would be Tomkins and Reid together. But his confidence had been knocked and he wasn’t playing as well as all West Ham fans knew he could play. He was making silly mistakes and getting caught behind a lot of time. Then against Villa I saw a change in him, he was back to the player who attracted a lot of attention from Premier League clubs especially from Newcastle manager Alan Pardew.
I hope that Tomkins now continues to play to the best of his ability because I am sure that with him commanding the back four along with Winston Reid our poor defensive situation of late can start to improve.
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