EXCLUSIVE - West Ham’s McCartney: I should never have left Hammers

West Ham defender George McCartney admits that he should have stayed at Upton Park in 2008 rather than return to Sunderland.

Hammers defender George McCartney has admitted for the first time that he should never have left West Ham after suffering a nightmare three years with Sunderland.

The 30-year-old is back at Upton Park on a season-long loan and has so far impressed both manager Sam Allardyce and the Hammers fans with some consistently solid displays at left back.

McCartney’s departure from West Ham in a �4.5million deal back in the summer of 2008 prompted then manager Alan Curbishley to quit the club and both their careers have gone downhill since that point.

And the Northern Ireland international defender has confessed that he should have stayed at Upton Park.

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“I don’t know what went wrong at Sunderland,” he admitted. “It’s hard to say, but looking back I probably shouldn’t have left West Ham.

“I had great times here and it is a great club and it is something I will always regret.”

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McCartney played 71 games in two seasons at West Ham and secured second spot behind Robert Green in the Hammer of the Year award in his final season at the club.

However, in three years at the Stadium of Light, he has made just 46 appearances and never got close to reaching the heights he managed at Upton Park.

“I’m not really making excuses, but over the first two years at Sunderland I had some bad injuries and needed a couple of operations,” he explained. “So I had a loss of form, my confidence was low and I could never really get it going.”

McCartney was shipped out on loan to Leeds United last term, but it proved to be an inauspicious time in Yorkshire as the Elland Road club missed out on the play-offs.

“After being at Leeds last season, coming back down here has given me a new lease of life really,” said the full back. “It has given me the confidence to kick on again and play football somewhere I am happy and happy to be out on the pitch every week.

“Thankfully the chairman and the manager have given me a second chance, otherwise I would never have come. Now it is up to me to repay the faith they have shown in me by performing every week.”

He has certainly impressed since replacing the hapless Herita Ilunga in the side. He is only on loan at the moment, but he is hoping that West Ham and Sunderland can sort out a more permanent deal.

“Of course I want a permanent deal,” insisted McCartney. “It’s only a season-long loan at the moment, but fingers crossed we get promoted and I can have a good, consistent season and then it if it permanent, it will be a great opportunity for me.”

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