Slaven Bilic has told West Ham United’s official website that he wishes that he did not have to sell James Tomkins to Crystal Palace last summer.
Tomkins departed West Ham, after spending almost 20 years developing with the London club.
Bilic admits that letting the 27-year-old go was a disappointment, but there was little he could do as he could no longer offer Tomkins first-team football on a regular basis.
“I tried to explain the situation with James,” the Croatian boss said. “I didn’t want him to leave or go but last year he played many, many games for us in different positions and he was very good for our squad.
“But I couldn’t guarantee he would play week in week out and that is the reason he left. He didn’t want to leave because he is West Ham born and bred.
“He wanted guarantees basically and I couldn’t give him that.”
Tomkins made 243 appearances for West Ham in total, and he developed into a fans’ favourite with the Hammers.
The 27-year-old failed to establish himself as part of Bilic’s defence last season, though, and was often utilised at right-back rather than in the centre of the backline.
Tomkins is now set to face his former employers, with Palace due to take on West Ham at Selhurst Park at the weekend.
Palace have started the campaign in very good form, and if they are able to pick up the three points on Saturday, it will pile further pressure on to West Ham - who are currently stuck down in 18th place in the Premier League table.
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