Tomkins gets plaudits again

IT DOESN T seem to matter who James Tomkins comes up against - at the moment he is simply a match for anybody in the Premier League. The centre half only turned 20 in March, but he plays alongside Matty Upson with a maturity that belies his tender years.

IT DOESN'T seem to matter who James Tomkins comes up against - at the moment he is simply a match for anybody in the Premier League.

The centre half only turned 20 in March, but he plays alongside Matty Upson with a maturity that belies his tender years.

Fernando Torres was the latest top striker to be marked by the Hammers youngster and bar a header that went close in the first half, the Spanish star barely got a look in.

West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola was full of praise for Tomkins.

"He is playing well week in week out. He looks like a veteran, so don't be surprised if soon you see him playing for the national team."

That may come very soon if Mark Noble gets his way. The midfielder wants him in the England under-21 squad for this summer's European Championships in Sweden.

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"He was superb today and obviously it was good for him to show that," explained Noble on Saturday.

"We've got the under-21 tournament in the summer and hopefully he'll be in that with me.

"I think he's done more than well enough to earn that and he has been fantastic since he's come in, so hopefully he'll get that opportunity."

The centre back's loan spell at Derby County earlier in the season seems to have been the catalyst for his meteoric rise to prominence.

Since returning from Pride Park, he has played just 14 games for the first team, but has already overtaken James Collins as the regular partner of Upson.

The only way is up!