Spector is a ‘clasico’ American beauty

West Ham’s forgotten man Jonathan Spector reflects on his greatest day in claret and blue

SURELY not even in his wildest dreams could Jonathan Spector have imagined the events at Upton Park on Tuesday night.

Drafted into the side as a replacement for Scott Parker, the 24-year-old strutted around the midfield like Lionel Messi as he grabbed two first-half goals to send his former club scuttling out of the Carling Cup.

Perhaps the American World Cup player has finally found his position. In fact, he has played there before for West Ham and it proved to be another rather fruitful day.

Back in November 2007, Spector was part of the West Ham team that trounced Derby County 5-0 at Pride Park and he even got on the scoresheet that day, only for his first goal in claret and blue to be wiped off by the Dubious Goals Panel and given as an own goal by fellow American Eddie Lewis.

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And Spector himself revealed that the team had been working hard with him in the middle of the park.

“I’ve been training in that position for a few weeks because of injuries and I was really excited to be given the chance to play there,” he said.

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“I actually started playing there when I was a youngster, before moving back to play in defence.

“I really enjoyed playing there and it helped to be doing so alongside Kovac, who is experienced and defensive minded. It allowed me to get forward more.”

It seems the American, who has now played 97 games for the club since arriving from Manchester United in 2006, may also have received some inspiration from elsewhere as manager Avram Grant revealed.

“I think he saw the game between Barcelona and Real Madrid this week and he said I can do it also,” said Grant with a barely concealed smile.

“He is a good professional and trains hard. That is why we trained yesterday with him in that position. He took his chance well.”

He certainly did, with a display that would not have been out of place in ‘El Clasico’.

It is almost a dream come true for Spector, who revealed that the only time he has been to Wembley was not even for football.

“Wembley is in the back of your mind,” he confirmed. “It’s such an historic venue and I would imagine a great place to play.

“I’ve only ever seen an NFL game there, so it would be fantastic to play there, but we still have two games to get through first.”

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