Spector happy to fight for his place
THE LAST time West Ham visited the Reebok in April 2008, Bolton took all three points, Kevin Davies scored a goal, and Jonathan Spector turned out for the Hammers, writes DAVE EVANS. You could say that few things have changed since that day after West Ham
THE LAST time West Ham visited the Reebok in April 2008, Bolton took all three points, Kevin Davies scored a goal, and Jonathan Spector turned out for the Hammers, writes DAVE EVANS.
You could say that few things have changed since that day after West Ham slumped to another defeat against the Wanderers, with Davies hitting the target again on Saturday, but for Spector it has been a horrendous time - this was his first start since that day 10 months ago!
The American international defender suffered a hip injury that needed surgery and forced him to miss the United States' Olympic campaign in Beijing last summer.
His long return to fitness saw him come on as a last minute substitute against Stoke City just after Christmas, but his first start on Saturday left the 23-year-old with mixed emotions.
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"Personally I was glad to be back, but more importantly from a team standpoint it was disappointing to get the result we did," he said.
"At 2-0 down early on we really gave ourselves a mountain to climb.
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"But I thought we fought back well and were on top for the majority of the game, but just weren't able to get the result we wanted."
Spector, who has 12 international caps to his name, was only in the starting line-up because of the suspension of Lucas Neill and the departure of Julien Faubert on loan to Real Madrid.
The American, though, is just happy to finally be given a chance: "Yes, of course it's frustrating when you're not playing, but at the same time you just keep going," he explained.
"We have a great team, with a lot of strength in the squad and the team has been playing extremely well, so it is understandable that I wasn't going to work my way in, but you just have to make the most of your opportunities."
Spector certainly impressed on Saturday. He and Matty Upson may have been the two defenders that Kevin Davies got between to score Bolton's second, but other than that, the American looked assured at the back and even had time to cross for Scott Parker's goal.
"All things considered, I was pretty happy with my personal fitness," he confirmed. "I felt good throughout the match, so I've no complaints. You put the work in and hope that when the match day comes you feel good.
"For the goal, it was a great run by 'Scotty', he got across the first defender so I put it in early and he put in a superb finish," added Spector, who almost put in Carlton Cole for another goal later in the second half.
But with club captain Neill available again tonight (Wednesday), the chances are that the American will be back on the bench, so does he see his future away from Upton Park?
"I'm a West Ham player, it is a great club and I am more than happy to be here," confirmed Spector. "Obviously I want to be in the starting eleven as does everyone else here and that is why the squad is so strong.
"All the players are very ambitious and want to play and that is what has spurred us to success this season."
One thing in Spector's favour is his versatility. The American, who cost the Hammers �500,000 when he arrived from Manchester United in the summer of 2006, has already played at right back, left back, centre back and central midfield during his 58 appearances in claret and blue.
He has his favourite position, but is sensible enough to know that he must fit in wherever he can.
"It's been a while since I've played in any position, but I will take my chances wherever they come," he said.
"I enjoy playing in the middle, while playing outside back has its facets as well. But I think I would eventually like to settle as a central defender. Today I had the chance at right back and I will take that."
It is certainly true that Spector can play in a number of positions, but whether he will be doing that with West Ham in the years to come, remains to be seen.