West Ham’s McCartney happy to have new Matty by his side

Hammers defender George McCartney is looking to make a big impact on his return to Upton Park.

When George McCartney was at West Ham first time round he was greatly assisted by the wing skills of former Hammer Matty Etherington.

Now the Northern Ireland international is back and is quick to draw parallels between Etherington and his current left-side partner Matty Taylor.

“Of course it helps playing with Matt Taylor,” said the 30-year-old who has joined the Hammers on a season-long loan from Sunderland. “He runs all day and his quality is great. I think today he probably set up three goals and he’s done that all through his career.

“The last time I was at West Ham we had Matt Etherington on the left. He was the same type of player where he worked hard coming back defending and has great quality going forward.

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“It can only help my game and for the rest of the team you can see what he supplies.”

McCartney spent two years at Upton Park between 2006 and 2008, taking the runner-up spot behind Robert Green in the Hammer of the Year awards in his final season at the club.

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However, his transfer back to Sunderland heralded the resignation of boss Alan Curbishley and while he has not had a managerial job since, McCartney’s career has taken a nose-dive too.

He played 32 games on loan at Leeds United last season, without ever really endearing himself to the fans at Elland Road, but the Irishman is just happy to be back at West Ham and keen to make an impression.

“Obviously it’s down to the manager to pick a team, but all I can do is try my best every week, stay fit, work hard in training and hopefully when it comes to games I can apply myself right, stay in the team and keep the winning record going,” said McCartney, who cleared one effort off the line on Sunday.

“It’s great to be back. I’ve been here before and I know how good our support is. It’s great when you come to places like this and you score four goals. Everyone goes home happy and I’m sure the fans would have been cheering on the journey back.”

McCartney made his second debut for the Hammers in last Wednesday’s 2-1 Carling Cup defeat by League Two Aldershot, and he admits that the team needed to bounce back from that.

“Obviously coming off the Aldershot defeat in midweek, although the team was different, it was important to hit back and it’s nice to win my first league game on my return,” he said.

“It was a big game and a tough game, but it was nice to win in the manner we did.

“We would have taken 1-0 at the start of the game, but to be 3-0 up and creating other chances was a great start.

“The lads dug in second half and we knew that Forest would come out strong, but we saw out the tough periods and saw the game out.”

Perhaps the difference between McCartney and previous left back incumbent Herita Ilunga is consistency. Ilunga’s mistakes have cost West Ham dearly this season already and if the defence can cut those out by adding the solid McCartney to their ranks, then wins at Upton Park will inevitably follow.

“I’m not sure how long it’s been since we won at home, probably a few months, but I’m sure we’ll put that right over the next few weeks and give the fans something to cheer about,” said the confident full back.

“You look at the manager’s record over the last few years and he did great with Bolton in the Premier League. He’s now come to another big club like West Ham and although last year things didn’t go right, he’s come in and installed belief and given the players confidence.

“Hopefully come the end of this season we’ll be back in the Premier League.”

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