May 24 2013 Latest news:
Nathaniel John, West Ham Correspondent
Friday, August 3, 2012
Hammers defender glad to be back involved
West Ham defender Joey O’Brien was delighted to have made his first appearance of pre-season on the Hammers’ recent tour to Germany last week.
The Ireland international started every game for Sam Allardyce’s side, playing three sets of 45 minutes against FC Rot-Weiss Erfurt, Dynamo Dresden on Friday and then Sunday’s match with Energie Cottbus.
O’Brien was also used in the centre of defence along with his usual position of right-back, but the 26-year-old was just happy to be back in the thick of the action on the pitch.
“For myself, as I missed the games at the start of pre-season, it has been great for me to come out here and, not only train fully, but play in the matches,” said O’Brien.
“It is all about getting some game time under my belt, that is the most important thing for all of us.
“I’m pleased the manager picked me and it was another step in the right direction.”
The Hammers endured hot temperatures in Germany, and opened up their campaign with a 3-0 win against FC Rot-Weiss Erfurt last Wednesday, courtesy of a brace from Ricardo Vaz Te and an own goal.
However, the real test for Allardyce’s men came on Friday night in front of 30,000 fans, where they were well beaten 3-0 by Dresden.
West Ham then rounded off their trip on Sunday afternoon, when they came back from 2-0 down to draw the game 2-2, with Colin Kazim-Richards and Sam Baldock on the scoresheet.
“You need to work hard in training in the heat so you feel better, fitter,” said O’Brien.
“The other night against Dresden, the atmosphere was fantastic, with the way their fans were singing.
“The Cottbus game was another good match and that is good as we work towards the first game of the new season against Aston Villa.”
As well as spending their time in Germany getting fitter, O’Brien also believes that the team have grown closer as a group and that the trip was a huge boost in terms of team bonding, with new recruits Modibo Maiga and Jussi Jaaskelainen getting to know their team-mates.
“We have a great bunch of lads, some of whom now have been here a while,” added the defender.
“We also have some good Academy boys here with us as well and it is good to have them here and see them blossoming.
“They’re cheeky, yes, but it’s all good banter. I have been here a year now and the thing that stuck out with everyone last season was that the manager, staff and players stuck together.
“We had some tough times but sticking together got us through it all and we got where we wanted to be in the end.
“We will be doing that again to get us through the new challenges this season.”