Should James Tomkins retain West Ham’s right-back berth ahead of Carl Jenkinson?

Slaven Bilic

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic has a tough tactical decision to make this week.

The Hammers get their Premier League season back underway this coming Monday with the visit of Newcastle to the Boleyn Ground.

With two victories and two defeats from four games, the Hammers are sitting comfortably mid-table, but have shown a lack of consistency in their performances.

Excellent games against Arsenal and Liverpool away from home have been shown up by losses to Bournemouth and Leicester in East London, and it is hard to believe the same team could be playing the games considering how strange the performances have been.

However, the players selected have been fairly similar, but there is one key change which has separated the victories from the defeats, and it could cause Slaven Bilic to have a big selection decision to make in the coming days.

James Tomkins and Carl Jenkinson are vying for the right-back slot this season, with Tomkins, a natural centre-back, so far winning out.

With him in the back-line, the Hammers have yet to concede, and he has been putting in some of his best performances as a West Ham player.

Jenkinson, who was so strong for the club last season, as started this campaign in poor form, playing in both losses, conceding six goals, and receiving a red card.

He is back from suspension now, and will be hoping to return to the starting XI for the visit of Newcastle.

It is hard to back up claims that Jenkinson deserves his place back in the team considering Tomkins has played so well, but the Arsenal loanee does have some benefits to his game.

He is a far more natural attacker than Tomkins, and playing at home means Bilic is likely to set his team up as an offensive unit. This means his full-backs will be asked to press high up the field, and Jenkinson provides a consistent threat, as well as an accurate final ball.

However, Tomkins is the far better defender, and his training as a natural central defender offers increased stability in the back-line. This means that whilst he will not attack as much, Aaron Cresswell is offered increased freedom on the left side, in the knowledge that there will always be three people covering his position.

Playing a centre-back at right-back may seem a negative move at home, but Bilic may have just stumbled onto a great tactical decision for the Hammers, and the Croatian boss surely has to start Tomkins over Jenkinson this weekend.

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