Andy Carroll was pleased to take a significant step in his return to fitness as West Ham went down 2-1 to Leicester City in the League Cup.
Slaven Bilic’s in-form team were unable to follow up stunning away Premier League victories at Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City with victory at the King Power Stadium as Andy King netted a last-gasp winner in extra time.
But the night was a success for Carroll, who played for more than an hour on his first start since suffering a knee injury in February.
The England striker told West Ham’s official website: “Obviously we’re disappointed with the result, but to get 60 minutes under my belt was good.
“I didn’t get on against Manchester City and only had two minutes against Newcastle, so an hour is good and I feel fantastic.
“I felt good before I went out there. I’ve been training well and trying to get as fit as I can. I’ve been raring to start and was itching to get on last week as well, so it was pleasing to start at Leicester.”
West Ham are riding high in third place in the Premier League and Carroll is relishing further involvement as they look to build on an encouraging start to life under Bilic.
“We’re a great team at the minute and the lads are playing well,” he added. “They’ve got some great results apart from on Tuesday and, as an attacking force, they’ve been fantastic. It’s good to be a part of it.
“I’ve been looking forward since the start of the season to be back and now I am.
“That’s what I’ve wanted and what I’ve worked hard for. So now I’m trying to get in the starting eleven and stay there.”