When talk turns to the football stars of the future the spotlight always falls on attacking talent such as Theo Walcott who recently joined Arsenal in a multi-million pound deal. But playing in the same England U17 side as Walcott this season is a young Hammer who promises to join West Ham’s fine tradition of commanding international centre halves who are also comfortable on the ball.
James Tomkins (not to be confused with the Aussie rower of the same name) is gradually building up a reputation as more and more people witness his imperious displays. He has the strength, physical presence and heading prowess required of a defensive lynchpin, but adds to that excellent anticipation and decision making that often snuff out trouble before it happens as well as excellent ball skills that see him easing away from challenges before setting up an attack with an admirable range of passing.
Tomkins can also get himself on the scoresheet as he did a year ago against Fulham when he became West Ham’s youngest ever reserve team scorer at the age of 16 in only his second reserve team appearance. He was amongst the goals again in the Irons’ reserves 5-2 demolition of Leicester a couple of weeks ago, but can also be found playing for the youth side on Saturday mornings.
Make sure to catch him in action before the end of the season and then spread the news about the new successor to Rio Ferdinand and perhaps even Bobby Moore.