West Ham’s Kiwi returns to the thick of things after season in the wilderness

Winston Reid suffered under Avram Grant last season, now he is looking to make a real impact under new boss Sam Allardyce.

There must have been times last season when Winston Reid wondered what he had let himself in for.

Fresh from an excellent World Cup with New Zealand, his move to the Premier League seemed like a fairytale for the young defender, but it rapidly turned into a nightmare.

Played at right back in the opening game trouncing at Aston Villa, he played just 12 games in claret and blue and was ignored by manager Avram Grant from February until the end of the season.

His last game was when he played alongside James Tomkins in the 5-1 win over Burnley in the FA Cup, a match which saw him score his only goal for the Hammers.

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On Sunday he was back alongside Tomkins and delighted to be back playing football.

“I see it as a part of growing in football, an experience,” said the now 23-year-old.

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“It was tough at times of course, but that was mainly because it was a tough season for everyone.

“But it is always a learning curve when you first arrive at a new club.”

Reid did not look out of place against Cardiff and believes he and Tomkins, who is only 22, are forming an understanding.

“It is going well between us,” he said. “It is early days, but I feel we coped well with the two strikers, as they didn’t get too many chances out of us.”

Leaking goals was a huge problem for the Hammers last season and Reid revealed that it is something that new boss Sam Allardyce has been working hard on.

“Of course, it has been part of training, looking at keeping tight at the back – we have been doing a lot of defensive work and I feel we had a good pre-season and kept some clean sheets

“The manager has been great, he has just said he is counting on me, like all the players, to do a job. We are looking forward to the season ahead, we have only played one game so there is a lot to look forward to here I feel.”

That one game ended in defeat, but Reid is confident that there is no need to press the panic button so early in the campaign.

“Of course, it is a hard league you know – it will be a case of us just grinding out results in a lot of the games.

“We have only played one game in the new season, we all believe in ourselves and the team that we can do what is required to get us up,” he concluded.

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