During this summer’s off-season, I’ve started taking part in a weekly 5-a-side team to keep up the fitness. It’s a good laugh and nice to get back on the pitch with a ball at my feet. However, after spotting a tweet recently from the lads at Hammers Chat (@Hammers_Chat) discussing an all time Hammers squad, I thought I would give it a go.

5-a-side required a well-rounded team that can defend and attack as a unit and regularly swap and interchange positions, especially when man marking. Baring that in mind I would not over indulge on luxury players. Often some of our greatest attacking players have been lazy and at times a liability in defence. Similarly, the defence would need to be agile enough to get forward and attack should they be in possession further up the pitch.

I would operate a 1-2-1 formation with a single defender sitting, whilst two midfielders do the legwork and a deadly finisher in front of goal. Luckily at West Ham, we’ve had a history of solid goalkeepers. Ludo, Hislop, Parkes, and James would all be great shouts. Even our current keeper Adrian would suit the smaller goals with his rapid reflexes. I’m going to go for a slightly less popular choice with Hammer of the Year 2007/8 Rob Green. Green had a fantastic season that year, in a campaign that saw us finish 10th, Green saved three consecutive penalties. This would be a key asset in preventing those close proximity opportunities.

In defence, it would be another tough one. Initially, I was thinking of choosing Dicks for his ability to control a game from deep, rocket shooting and no nonsense tackling. However, the player in defence often receives the ball from the keeper and needs to have the ability to pick a pass and dictate an attack from deep. Rio Ferdinand for me fits the bill perfectly. He’d have the legs to cover the defence and is no stranger to big challenges.

In the midfield, I’d like a balance of strength and pace in edition to a great ball player. We have had some outstanding midfield players and this is probably my toughest choice of the lot. The deeper lying midfield role had one candidate for me, two-time Hammer of the Year: Scotty Parker. He can control the pace of the game and is fantastic at putting out fires and distributing. His driving goal and distance finish against Wigan was something I’d be hoping to see plenty of.

The more attacking role has been a tough one but I’m going to shoehorn in a forward behind my striker. Usually, I’d be desperate to go for a player like Payet but his laziness in defence would become clear in a small-sided fixture. However, to maintain the same sort of flair, Paolo Di Canio would fit the bill for the attacking midfield role. Whilst from the same creative ilk as Payet, Di Canio was well known for his commitment and passion on the field. Who doesn’t love a bit of creativity and artistic license?

Finally, the striker, having thought about this throughout the article I’m down to two players. Jermain Defoe and Carlos Tevez both possess a fantastic record in front of goal and can finish from anywhere. Clinical finishing and taking chances is vital in a 5-a-side-games. Based on their ability to score in big games and the fact that they love the club… Carlos Tevez is my choice to lead the line in my five-a-side team.

Just to recap…

GK: Green
CB: Ferdinand
CDM: Parker
CAM: Di Canio
ST: Tevez

Bare in mind I’m a millennial and this is based on my years watching the Hammers. There have been plenty of names I’d have liked to have included or forgotten, but with just five names to include it’s incredibly tough. Have your say and let me know your five a side team!