Since his arrival at Upton Park in the 2012/2013 season, it appears that James Collins has re-established himself in the West Ham side after a long spell away at Aston Villa. In order to keep the balance, Allardyce has been using Tomkins as a substitute and often bringing him on in the second half of games. But unfortunately for Tomkins his time in the first team is beginning to become more and more limited as Collins and Reid have displayed immaculate defending in many games towards the second half of last season, impressing the gaffer leading him to name them as his main centre backs.
Reid, named ‘Hammer of the Year 2012/2013′ has delighted supporters and players alike with his performances in the past few seasons, he has clearly managed to hang on to his position in West Ham United’s first team. With his gritty, no nonsense mentality and his great aerial presence, Winston has been give captaincy for West Ham while Nolan and Noble have been out of action. He is vocal, he knows what he wants and how to get it. A born-leader, Reid is definitely a managers dream. He is considered to be as tough as old boots and has taken many a knock to the face in his time and got back up, including numerous occasions during the Newcastle game this week. Many would find it hard to compete against a centre back like Winston Reid and this may well be the case for James Tomkins and James Collins this season.
The second space at centre back is therefore fought over by the Ginge and Tonks. Tomkins had an incredible 2011-2012 season, of course helping the hammers achieve their goal of winning promotion back to the Barclays Premier League. James hit the score sheet many times that season as well as looking very solid at the back. He is dedicated to the cause, and has said that he’d happily play any position for West Ham United as long as he got his name on the teamsheet. Tomkins is a known aerial threat and could strengthen West Ham’s ability from set pieces.
Collins is currently the only obstacle blocking Tomkins’ path to first team football, I’m sure many fans will agree when I say ‘rightly so’. Collins has been a rock at the back ever since his disastrous start to the 2012-2013 campaign where his weak backpass opened a chance up for the opposition to slot the ball past Jaaskelainen. His strength and timing are balanced to perfection and he very rarely makes any fouls or mistakes. Some fans feel that Collins clearances and long balls are often unneeded and a waste of possession. But once again the opinions are always divided at our club. Big Sam clearly feels that the clearances are affective otherwise he may have told Ginge to cut them out last season.
The arrival of Razvan Rat excited many fans as he shone brightly and displayed some astounding flair in pre-season. It is very frustrating personally to see Joey O’Brien, a natural Right Back starting ahead of him. Rat is yet to have been given any game time so far this season and I hope to see his involvement soon! O’Brien often makes silly challenges and gets himself booked for no reason and I feel Demel links up a lot better with the players around him and should maintain his spot at right back. Personally I would like to see a back four of; Rat, Reid, Collins and Demel. But I’d definitely like to see more of James Tomkins this season, as we are currently wasting his talent by leaving him on the bench. With Spence being up for sale, perhaps his time at West Ham is coming to an end as he never really made much of an impact and is now 20 years old.