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Britton excited by West Ham clash

Swansea captain Leon Britton is eagerly anticipating facing West Ham at Upton Park for the first time in a senior game.

Michael Laudrup’s men are just two wins off the safety-assuring 40-point mark that should ensure English Premier League safety.

Britton will be hoping to edge his team ever closer with a win against the side he had hoped to showcase his talents for as a teenager.

The former West Ham youngster is determined to make a point to his old employers after never getting a chance for the London club.

“I played there in maybe three or four youth cup games,” Britton said.

“The first one was when I was 15 and playing for Arsenal, but when I moved to West Ham I played there against Southend and Glen Johnson scored a hat-trick, even though he was playing in defence. He wasn’t a bad player even then.

“There were a few reserve games as well, but nothing special. The youth cup games were something special at the time – playing at Upton Park and in front of a bit of a crowd.

“But I never played there in a senior match and have been waiting a long time to play a league game at Upton Park.

“I never made a squad, never travelled for a game when I was there – it was disappointing that I didn’t even get close, especially with the boys around me breaking through. (Jermain) Defoe, Johnson, (Joe) Cole, (Michael) Carrick. They were top players, but I got left behind a little bit.

“I have waited a long time to get on that pitch and it’s one of the few grounds where I haven’t played a league game.”

Britton was allowed to leave West Ham for Swansea on a free transfer by Glenn Roeder, but admits he did not even know where Swansea was when the Welsh club came calling.

“When Swansea rang I didn’t know where it was – all I knew was that it was in Wales,” Britton said.

“And I have got to be honest, I didn’t know much about the football club. I remember coming down the M4 and it just didn’t end. I didn’t know what division Swansea were in until I had a look.

“Then I found they were in the bottom two of the bottom division, but I didn’t care. I couldn’t be picking and choosing where I wanted to go, I just wanted a chance.

“I always hoped I could make it in the professional game, and I just felt I needed someone to give me that chance. When Swansea rang, I came.”

Fri 1 Feb, 2013
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