Filed: Saturday, 27th October 2007
By: Matthew O'Greel
Matthew Etherington has revealed that he thought his United career was over in the summer.
The left winger - talking to SkySports - admitted that he thought his days in East London were numbered following a number of high-profile arrivals in the last year.
"In the summer I wasn't expecting to be here," he said, "and maybe the fans weren't expecting it either. But now I'm in the team and I want to stay there.
"The manager has brought in a lot of quality players and there's competition for places which can only be good for West Ham.
"I wasn't in the team for the first game this season but I got back in. Luis [Boa Morte] is a very good player but I've managed to keep him out up until now - and hopefully I will again today."
Etherington - who was heavily criticised by supporters last season for a string of sub-standard performaces - admitted that he had been playing well below par at stages, although feels that he is now back at his best.
"Maybe I got a little bit complacent," he said. "Under Alan Pardew I thought I was a regular fixture in the team but I found myself out of the team last year.
"But I learned from that. Every player gets a time in their career when things aren't going well for them. But I've got my head down, worked hard and it's good to be in the team."
Etherington - who was signed by Glenn Roeder in the summer of 2003 - is now one of the club's longest serving players.
Of the current playing staff only Christian Dailly (on loan at Southampton), Anton Ferdinand and Mark Noble have been a United player longer.
And he revealed that he was looking forward to many more years at the club.
"It's my fifth season here now," he said. "I'm a long-standing player compared to some of the lads!
"I love this club. They took me from Tottenham and gave me a chance when things weren't going well for me under Glenn Hoddle.
"I owe what I've achieved up until now to West Ham - and the support is second to none. They've been awesome to me."
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