Dan: Right Back Still A Problem

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Another reader submission for “From The Terraces“, this time COS reader Dan looks at West Ham’s attempt to identify a first team right back – which apparently has been some sort of issue for them or something.

Repka and Scaloni have been tried and failed. Some Hammers may have remembered a 4-1 thrashing against 10-man Chelsea last season when Lionel Scaloni, who says he dreams of one day playing for West Ham again (you wish mate!), was destroyed by a team not using a left winger. Or the nightmares of Tomas Repka’s numerous concentration lapses still linger. After Repka went back home and Scaloni, despite the Argentine’s efforts, was not signed permanently, West Ham embarked on three new experiments: highly rated young Englishman Tyrone Mears, Ghana World Cup hero John Painstil and an American squad player that no one cared about, Johnathan Spector.

The first, Mears, was signed from Preston and after a rumour–filled summer of Scaloni’s return I can honestly say I was ever so relieved at the capture of the Preston man. Upon signing many thought he could have been another one of Alan Pardew’s brilliant English lower league signings (Danny Gabbidon, Marlon Harewood, Hayden Mullins and ….uh…. James Collins) that have come good in the Premiership. Quotes from the Preston manager such as, “If Tyrone does not become a future England international then something will have had to go seriously wrong” also hyped up the 23 year old’s potential. So far Mears has looked very accomplished in defence however, he’s a bit useless going forward.

Due to Mears’ signing it came somewhat as a surprise that Ghanaian John Painstil was signed for 1 million pounds from Hapeol Tel Aviv after impressing during a trial period on a pre-season tour of Sweden. Painstil started the season as second choice to Mears, however after coming on as a sub against Charlton and playing extremely well the 25 year old put together a string of impressive performances, showing his sublime talent going forward. However Painstil picked up and injury in round three to Liverpool, and despite being declared fit he has disappeared of the face of the first team earth.

Amidst all this however most West Ham fans had barely noticed that USA international, Johnathan Spector, had signed from Manchester United. A valuable squad player (and at the time considered no more than that) Spector is capable of playing all across the back four, although he prefers to play right back or centre back. After a patient wait on the sidelines Spector impressed after getting chances due to an injury to Mears and a visa problem that prevented Painstil from re- entering Britain. Only twenty years Spector is now first choice right back at West Ham and has a bright future.

The battle for the right back spot continues and next week against Chelsea, Spector is suspended after picking up a consecutive yellow card against Middlesborough so the door may be open for forgotten men Mears or Painstil to make a mark (if they are fit).

Any preferences for this increasingly problematic position?

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