West Ham defender left so frustrated after return to first team
PUBLISHED: 10:30 21 March 2017
PA Wire/PA Images
Hammers full-back Sam Byram was delighted to be in the starting line-up, but disappointed with Saturday’s first half against Leicester City
Frustration seemed to be the overriding word in use after Saturday’s 3-2 defeat by Leicester City, but for one Hammer you can put that word in block capitals.
For Sam Byram it has been a frustrating time since he signed from Leeds United for £4million.
His first touch on his debut was to control the ball and launch a perfect 50-yard crossfield pass to Dimitri Payet.
But injury, being cup-tied and suspension for Byram meant that by the end of last season, winger Michail Antonio was reluctantly playing in his right-back position.
This season has been equally frustrating for the baby-faced 23-year-old defender. Injury has been the cause this time round, but even when he was fit, it seemed manager Slaven Bilic preferred midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate to him in the position.
So last weekend was a vital one for the future of the Thurrock-born full-back. With skipper Mark Noble out, it meant shifting Kouyate over and Byram finally got his chance to show what he could do.
By half time, though, West Ham had let in three goals and that word frustration was looming its ugly head again.
“Yes it was frustrating,” he said. “Especially in the first half, where it was disappointing for us to perform like that.
“We have turned it around in the second half and were unfortunate not to get anything from the game, but it has happened too many times when we have started slowly.
“Here we have gone two goals down before we started to show what we can do.”
Byram certainly wasn’t at fault for any of the goals and he also played his part after the break as West Ham poured forward looking to haul themselves back into the match.
“How many chances did we have in the second half?” he asked.
“It is really frustrating that we didn’t get anything from the game, but we have to take the positives out of it.
“We created lots of chances, passed the ball well and you could see when we shifted it from side to side that we can create chances, we just need to put them away.”
As soon as Noble was ruled out of this game, the word from the fans was that Byram should come back into the team, but for the defender, he didn’t see any of it.
“I try to stay off social media if I can,” he admitted. “I try and concentrate on the training ground on how I can make myself better.
“I think it is over a month since I last started a game. There are still a few areas where I am a bit rusty, but I felt that I grew into the game.
“In the second half I managed to get forward and express myself. There are a few things I need to improve on and I will keep working on those.”
There are rumours going around that West Ham may well offload the young defender in the summer. Well, Byram will be doing everything he can to make himself too good to lose before the end of this season.
It is nice to have a right-back playing at right-back for West Ham for a change and Byram says he feels comfortable in the position.
“I think with the way we play with two sitting midfielders and the full-backs high and wide, that does suit me to a tee,” he said.
“So I just need to keep going and see where I can help out.”
For that, he needs to be given a run of games and he surely deserves just that.