James Tomkins enjoyed a successful first season in SE25 last term as he scored three top-flight goals for the first time in his career, having moved from West Ham United the previous summer.
He was a part of the Upton Park academy when Alan Pardew managed the East Enders between 2003 and 2006, but he would have to wait another two years to be handed his senior debut when he started a Premier League game against Everton which ended in a 1-1 draw.
After a loan stint at Derby County the following campaign gave him further first-team experience, Tomkins began to establish himself for the Hammers and having been capped by England at all age groups, he made his first of 10 Under-21 appearances in June 2009.
In the 2010/11 season West Ham were relegated from the Premier League, but this gave Tomkins his chance at nailing down a first-team place, something he did successfully. He played in 44 of their 46 league games as well as all three play-off matches as he helped the Hammers instantly return to the top-flight. He was named in the PFA’s Championship Team of the Year.
That form saw him called up for Stuart Pearce’s Great Britain squad for the 2012 Olympic Games when Tomkins represented Team GB twice – in a pre-tournament friendly against Brazil and during the competition itself against the United Arab Emirates as Britain reached the quarter-finals.
Tomkins would go on to play 243 times for the Hammers across nine seasons, before swapping East London for SE25 in July 2016. He made his debut as a substitute in the Eagles' defeat at Tottenham Hotspur the following month, and played 26 times in all competitions in his first term.