West Ham star excited as a schoolboy at prospect of Wembley trip

08:50 17 May 2012

WEST HAM UTD v DERBY COUNTUY - nPOWER CHAMPIONSHIP - 26/11/2011 - PICTURE BY STEVE BACON

WEST HAM UTD v DERBY COUNTUY - nPOWER CHAMPIONSHIP - 26/11/2011 - PICTURE BY STEVE BACON

STEVE BACON

Hammers defender James Tomkins will make his first ever visit to the new Wembley Stadium on Saturday when West Ham take on Blackpool in the play-off final.

The thought of playing at Wembley has got defender James Tomkins as excited as a small boy on Christmas Eve – quite fitting really because the one and only time he visited the famous stadium, he was only six-years-old!

Tomkins visited the old Wembley to see England take on Bulgaria in a warm-up for Euro ’96, but this is the first time he will be seeing the newly-refurbished stadium.

“I have never played at Wembley and I have never even been to the new stadium,” confirmed the defender. “It is just going to be unbelievable to play at the country’s home stadium.

“The atmosphere is going to be fantastic and I am really looking forward to it.”

Tomkins has been a part of the West Ham set-up since he was just seven and was an avid spectator the last time the club went through the play-offs.

“I went to the Ipswich play-off semi-final game and then the final in Cardiff, so I know what the occasion is like and the atmosphere was amazing,” said the 23-year-old.

Tomkins will start on Saturday on merit. In the past he has been in and out of the team, but this time round he has been one of the most consistent players for West Ham.

“I think this year I have come on a lot,” said Tomkins who has filled in at right back as well as in the midfield this term. “I have grown in confidence and become a man this season.

“I think with my performances this season, I have deserved to keep my place and I feel I am getting better and better. I don’t want the season to end really.”

Tomkins is likely to be partnered by Winston Reid on Saturday and it is a combination that the defender feels has worked well this season.

“I think we are both enthusiastic, young and eager. We complement each other really well as we have similar attributes.

“We can cover each other and we both feel we can play on the floor as well as being good in the air,” said Tomkins, who has adapted well to the different skills needed to play in the Championship.

“It is more physically demanding with so many games,” explained the defender. “You have to recover well and you feel that you are not always 100 per cent fit. Sometimes you can play three games in a week and that is a lot to ask really.

“In the Premier League you are going to get punished more often, but the fitness is the key difference. It is not necessarily easier, it is just that you have to show different attributes in your game.”

One attribute he has shown this season is his ability at set-pieces. Tomkins has scored four goals, including one in the 4-1 victory at Blackpool.

“We do a lot of set-plays in training and that is something that we have worked out this year,” said the defender.

“I have got on the end of quite a few of Matt Taylor’s and Mark Noble’s crosses, my timing has improved, and I am taking the ball well.

“We do work on them in training, but not as much as you think, but it is something that is important. We are not conceding so many either.

“I feel that when I go up, I do have a chance of scoring and that’s important because if you are going up half-hearted then there is no point in going up at all.”

For many, Tomkins has been the Hammer of the year this term and if the ball is delivered from a free kick or a corner in the last minute of Saturday’s final, then the defender will be relishing getting on the end of it.

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest West Ham news

Friday, May 22, 2015
West Ham's Sam Allardyce (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

Sam Allardyce will find out whether he has a future as West Ham manager on Monday, but he will be on his way to Spain.

Friday, May 22, 2015
West Ham United's James Collins will miss out for club and country

West Ham defender James Collins will miss their trip to Newcastle on Sunday and also Wales’ crunch clash with Belgium.

Friday, May 22, 2015
Aaron Cresswell of West Ham (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

West Ham co-chairman David Gold believes Hammers left back Aaron Cresswell needs to be patient after being ignored by Roy Hodgson once again.

Friday, May 22, 2015
Emmanuel Adebayour of Spurs   (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor will miss his club’s final game of the season at Everton on Sunday after being allowed to return to his native Togo on compassionate grounds.

Friday, May 22, 2015
West Ham with the cup winners' cup

The mighty Hammers take the Cup with a superb 2-0 win over TSV Munich at Wembley

What is this?

Near You Now

Competitions

Time to experience the dizzy heights of London's tallest attraction!

Morgan Pryce, commercial property experts based in London are offering one lucky reader the chance to win a pair of tickets to The Shard viewing platform in the city itself.

Read more

Don't Miss...

West Ham Transfer News

Emmanuel Adebayour of Spurs   (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor will miss his club’s final game of the season at Everton on Sunday after being allowed to return to his native Togo on compassionate grounds.

Read more
Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

With the end of the season nearly here, clubs around the country will be keen to get their transfer dealings done as soon as possible. Here is our handy Friday morning round-up.

Read more
Newcastle United and West Ham target David Moyes (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Real Sociedad defender Inigo Martinez claims bringing David Moyes to the club this season ‘has not worked’, with West Ham and Newcastle reportedly keeping tabs.

Read more
Pedro of FC Barcelona (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)

Three Barcelona stars could be on their way to the Premier League this summer. Here is a round-up of the latest transfer gossip from around the web.

Read more
Marc Bartra of FC Barcelona celebrates (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Marc Bartra could be set to leave Barcelona for as little as £7.5m this summer due to a release clause in his contract.

Read more