Name: James Tomkins
James Tomkins will always be in the heart of West Ham United supporters having come through the club’s youth academy, but now their highly-rated youngster has matured into a commanding senior centre-half as the Hammers go in search of a lucrative top four finish this term.
The 26-year-old; who is a former England Under-21 international, made 25 appearances in all competitions under former manager Sam Allardyce last season, despite suffering two troublesome shoulder injuries.
However this campaign; Tomkins has already exceeded and outgrown the expectations placed upon him by the Upton Park faithful and new boss Slaven Bilic at the start of the season, by leading by example and feature as many times for the Londoners at this stage of the season compared to the whole of last term.
The Basildon-born centre-half; who represented Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympic Games, has scored two goals in 25 outings, missing just two Premier League fixtures for West Ham to become Bilic’s first pick along the last line of defence ahead of the likes of Winston Reid, James Collins and summer signing Angelo Ogbonna.
Having conceded a respectable 26 goals from their opening 22 league games; the same amount shipped by joint leaders Leicester City, Tomkins’ heroics at the back have been at the heart of some of West Ham’s terrific victories this campaign, including wins against Premier League big boys Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea and twice versus Liverpool.