James Tomkins has admitted to West Ham United’s official website that he is learning on the job, after being handed a starting role at right-back by manager Slaven Bilic.
An injury crisis, combined with loanee Carl Jenkinson’s loss of form, has forced Tomkins to play on the right hand side of defence in the Hammers’ last six matches.
The 26-year-old is predominantly a centre-back but he has excelled in his new position, with his performances being of a consistently high standard.
Tomkins has helped West Ham keep four clean sheets in their last six matches, but he feels that he still has improvements to make in the position.
“I am still learning the position and it is going to take a little time to get used to it,” he admitted. “When you're learning a new position at my age, you have to rely on your understanding of the game.
“It is still all new to me, because this is the first time I have played there quite regularly. I can still improve and hopefully I will get better with every game.”
Tomkins had lost his place at centre-back this term, so his versatility has been important.
With James Collins in the form of his life, summer signing Angelo Ogbonna looking solid and Winston Reid on the verge of returning from injury, Tomkins is unlikely to break back into the Hammers’ line up in the heart of their defence, but the right-back spot is now his to lose.
West Ham have only conceded three times in their last seven matches, and that has helped them move up to sixth place in the Premier League table.