Kia ora, or is it velkommen. . .

New Zealand defender and World Cup hero Winston Reid signed a three year contract with West Ham this past week, following a transfer from Danish Superliga club FC Midtjylland for an undisclosed fee.  Reid made a name for himself with a dramatic stoppage time, game-tying goal against Slovakia in New Zealand’s opening World Cup match.  Having come up through the same FC Midtjylland youth academy that produced Danish star Simon Kjaer, the 6’3″ Reid played center back for his club team while moving over to right back for the Kiwis in the World Cup.  Still only 22 years old, Reid had made 84 senior team appearances for FC Midtjylland and was a Denmark U-21 player before declaring his intent to play for the country of his birth prior to the World Cup.  While it is a little worrisome to sign players who are unknown until a single tournament such as the World Cup, if Reid can live up to his potential he brings youth, height, and athleticism to a West Ham defense that shipped out a the 5th most goals in the Premier League last season.  While his physical gifts are obvious, it will be crucial for him to quickly develop the mental side of the game if he is to make an impact this season.  There may not be a spot for him the lineup immediately, as West Ham already have veterans Matthew Upson, Tal Ben-Haim, and Danny Gabbidon in the squad already, as well as future prospects in James Tomkins and Manuel Da Costa.  Reid, does however, bring the squad immediate cover at both the center and right back positions as he, Ben-Haim, and more recently Tomkins, have played out on the right.  Avram Grant has a couple potential options regarding player positioning now as well.  Assuming that Upson remains with the team, he will anchor one of the center back positions, with the other going to Ben-Haim, Gabbidon, Tomkins, Da Costa, or Reid.  Whether Grant sticks with Julian Faubert on the right or plays him up in his more natural right midfield position hinges on the ability of Ben-Haim, Tomkins, or Reid to competently play the defensive wing.  For future purposes, West Ham have a nice stable of young, talented players who will be able to contribute in the coming years.  With Upson and Gabbidon on the wrong side of 30, and Ben-Haim only being a loan signing, the youngsters coming through the system will be contributing sooner rather than later.  At 26 years old, Da Costa is the oldest of the current batch, with Tomkins at 21, Reid at 22, Fabio Daprela at 19, and Jordan Spence at 20 years old tipped as the next generation of West Ham defenders.  Tomkins is already being touted as a potential England center back, so it remains to be seen if the youngsters are able to continue their development.

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~ by ar_sage on August 10, 2010.

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