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West Ham star: Aston Villa remind me of Zola’s time at Upton Park

10:59 10 February 2013

West Ham's James Tomkins represented Great Britain at the London Olympics. Photo: Anna Gowthorpe/PA

West Ham's James Tomkins represented Great Britain at the London Olympics. Photo: Anna Gowthorpe/PA

PA Wire/Press Association Images

West Ham defender James Tomkins has compared Aston Villa’s plight to that of the Hammers’ under Gianfranco Zola.

The Villans have a relatively inexperienced side but the 23-year-old believes that those players will be better for first-team experience.

“It is a hard situation that they’re in with all the young lads they have throughout the team,” he told the club’s official site.

“I remember here under Gianfranco Zola when we were in a relegation fight and I was a young lad growing up and still learning my trade.

“It’s hard and all the experienced players are important to you. Personally, I felt I thrived off the pressure, and it was good for me really growing up.

“It’s made me more ready for the harder times which follow. After that and a year in the Championship last season I feel much more experienced and happier with my game.”

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