When James Tomkins slipped and gave away a goal in his first ever game as a West Ham player, not many would have expected the defender to go as far as he has.
In his debut for the Hammers at just 19-years-old, the promising Hammers academy graduate made one of the biggest of errors any player can make and gifted Everton a goal with a slip of the ball in what finished as a 1-1 draw.
Tomkins might have thought at that moment his football career was over before it had even started, but the defender found himself playing five more times in the 2008/09 season for the Hammers, and the following campaign saw even more first-team opportunities for the defender following a successful five-week loan spell with Derby County.
The then England U-21 centre-back was starting to make a name for himself in the Premier League as a defender on the rise, and even when the club was relegated to the Championship and offers came in for Tomkins, the West Ham player remained loyal to the club, penning a new deal to keep him in east London.
After winning promotion back to the Premier League in 2012 as well as being named in the PFA Championship Team of the Year, Tomkins continued to be one of West Ham’s most important players, being an imposing threat from set-pieces and being a good marshall of the defence, but after 20 years with the club, the defender joined Crystal Palace for £10m in 2016.
It was a surprising transfer as not only did the Eagles secure the defender for a cheap fee of £10 million, but that the Irons allowed one of their best players to leave to a city rival. For Tomkins, though, it has been a successful move.
The defender has continued to impress in the league for Palace, starting regularly for the side and keeping the team up in the division despite times of uncertainty, which is why it would make sense that if Tomkins remained at the Hammers he would be the perfect partner for Issa Diop.
The Frenchman has been in great form since joining West Ham last summer, and there is no doubt that if Tomkins never left for Palace the duo would be of the best centre-back pairings outside the top-six.
West Ham fans, was selling Tomkins a mistake in hindsight? Let us know!
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