LA Galaxy newboy Sebastian Lletget happy for fresh start after West Ham frustration

The American midfielder remains grateful to the Hammers for helping him in his development but is now eager to taste regular first-team football with the MLS Cup champions.

New LA Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget has told of his excitement at the opportunity of a fresh start after seeing his career stagnate at West Ham United.

Lletget, 22, signed for West Ham in 2009 after impressing scouts while starring for local club Sporting Santa Clara, but never managed to make a Premier League appearance during his time at Upton Park.

The California-native’s lone senior outing came in the infamous 5-0 FA Cup defeat to Nottingham Forest in 2014, while he made the first-team bench once this season for November’s 2-1 loss at Everton.

Due to have been out of contract in the summer, the ex-US Under-23 international was allowed to train with LA during their preseason trip to Ireland this winter ahead of potential move, before West Ham granted him his release last week so he could complete his switch prior to the close of the MLS transfer window.

Having suffered with various injuries while in East London – including an unfortunate spell of mononucleosis that sidelined him for most of 2010 – Lletget stresses that he bears no ill will towards the Hammers but is now looking forward to getting the chance of regular action back in the States.

"My career was basically on the standstill for a long time,” he said. “I got a little taste here and there, but I was never really thrown in. But I respect that club; I will always respect that club. I would not be the player I am today [without West Ham United].

“I was in the first team at 17, and [Gianfranco] Zola was the manager at the time. I was really pushing to get in the squad, but those things happen in life. [Sam Allardyce] always brought in so many players, so it was always difficult for a young player to break in.

“I was always waiting for an injury, and it never came in the positions [I play]. Honestly, I don't wish that upon any player, but in the career we're in, you've just got to wait for your opportunity.”

After winning three of the past four MLS Cups, LA saw two core members of their championship side depart in the offseason, with US soccer legend Landon Donovan retiring and midfield stalwart Marcelo Sarvas moving on to Colorado Rapids in a trade.

The Sarvas trade was made in the knowledge that Steven Gerrard will be arriving this summer but club have had to work hard in the meantime to find a stopgap for the Liverpool captain, as well as for someone to fill Donovan’s shoes.

Capable of playing either in a central role or out wide, Lletget could fill either spot for the Galaxy and head coach Bruce Arena is hoping that he, Gerrard and former West Ham teammate and club captain Robbie Keane can link up to continue the the team's recent success.

“He’s a good midfielder; he can play centrally and out wide,” the ex-US national team boss said of Lletget. “He’s certainly not a winger but he could play out wide. He’s technically good, he’s a good alert player.

“We get better technically in the midfield, and once he’s there it allows us to move some other players in their best positions and the best formations that we can put together. It all gets a little bit better.”

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