Hines a happy hammer again
Zavon Hines is desperate to make up for lost time after he made a successful return to football.
Last Updated: 16/11/10 3:29pm
Zavon Hines is desperate to make up for lost time after he made a successful return to football following an 11-month lay-off.
The 21-year-old came on as a substitute for West Ham's reserves against Aston Villa on Monday and produced a sprightly performance.
His enforced period on the sidelines was due to a serious knee injury, which has only served to swell his appetite for the game, as he struggled to contain his delight at returning to the playing field.
"I'm very pleased to be honest," he told the club's official website.
"It's been a long time, so I was just eager to go. Obviously like everyone knows, I've missed out on a lot and football is in my blood, so I just want to play as much as I can. I love football.
"I feel sharp as it is. It's just my fitness that needs to get up a bit before I push on a bit more, but apart from that, physically and mentally I'm ready to go.
"I've been back in training for four or five weeks now so I'm fit but not match fit, so I'm hoping to play in the next reserve game, get a bit longer and try to push into the first-team squad."
Hines made an immediate impact on the game when he was felled in the area but the referee refused to award a penalty.
However, his period of absence from the game has allowed him to develop a philosophical view on these matters as he strives for full fitness.
"Of course it was a penalty! He took my legs. I feel sharp and he was a bit too slow for me, but obviously the referee didn't give it.
"It was just a good run out for me and good to be back."
With Avram Grant's team toiling at the foot of the table, Hines' ability to score goals is something that the Hammers boss would like to be able to call on sooner, rather than later.
But having been out of the game for almost a year, the England Under 21 international will not risk rushing back and aggravating the injury.
"I'm not going to rush it but physically I feel fine - physically I feel like I could play tomorrow," explained Hines.
"It's just fitness-wise, if my body is not up to it, then it won't hack it properly, so I need to get my fitness up. I can't put a timescale on it but I'd like to be on the bench soon."