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West Ham defender keen to fight for starting spot

15:30 03 July 2014

West Ham United

West Ham United's Joey O'Brien. Pic: John Walton/PA Archive

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Joey O’Brien delighted to be back in training

West Ham United's Joey O'Brien (right) and Manchester City's Edin Dzeko battle for the ball. Pic: Dave Thompson/PA WireWest Ham United's Joey O'Brien (right) and Manchester City's Edin Dzeko battle for the ball. Pic: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

With George McCartney and Pablo Armero both out of the picture at Upton Park, West Ham defender Joey O’Brien and Dan Potts are the only recognised left backs at the club, but for the Irishman, he knows that is likely to change before the start of the new campaign.

The 28-year-old was at the first day of pre-season today after a hectic summer and he was delighted to be back.

“I got married during the summer, so I was glad she turned up!” joked the West Ham full back after a light first session. “We went on honeymoon to Hawaii and then I was just chilling out with friends.

“But you start to thinking about getting back to the football and getting back into training so it was great to be back and see all the lads again.”

New boys Mauro Zarate and Cheikhou Kouyate were there for the first day of the new term, as was Ravel Morrison, but there was no sign of Modibo Maiga or Alou Diarra.

“It was just a gentle session today, we were just warming up I guess for the things to come,” said the sweating O’Brien. “We are off to France tomorrow for the next week and that will be pretty intensive I think. We will be working really hard I am sure and I want to get as fit and as ready for the start of the season as I can.”

So what about that left-back position? Does he expect it to be his this term?

“It is sad to see players like George McCartney leave, but it happens in football. I will be working hard to earn my place as I always do, but we have already brought some new talent in and I am sure that the gaffer will be looking to bring in some more talent as we get nearer the start of the season, including players for my position.”

West Ham’s survival was built on the back of 14 Premier League clean sheets, so will that be affected by the owners new attacking edict?

“The defence got us out of a lot of scrapes last season and we want to do it that again a million per cent,” said O’Brien. “But Teddy Sheringham has come in to help us in an attacking sense and I am sure the players are going to learn a lot from him.”

The proof of the pudding will come on the opening day of the season when Tottenham come to town and O’Brien can’t wait.

“It is really exciting to be playing Tottenham first day,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it when that fixture came out.

“They are going to be really up for it, but we will be prepared and raring to go and we are looking to beat them again.

“We have done it three times in a row, which has never been done before I don’t think, so four times in a row will be amazing.”

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