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American Exports: Spector wants defined role

AMSTERDAM — Suddenly thrust into a midfield role after some frustrating inactivity, West Ham United handyman Jonathan Spector says he'd prefer being allowed to settle in one position.

The 24-year-old, who did not appear for the US at the 2010 World Cup, was left a Hammers spectator for three months after starting at left back in a late August loss to former employers Manchester United.

Generally used on the back line, Spector pinch-hit for a suspended Scott Parker in last week's Carling Cup quarterfinal against his old club by scoring twice in the first half to key a 4-0 win. He was back in midfield alongside Parker for their weekend loss at Sunderland, again reinforcing his reputation as a player who can fill in at several positions.

"I suppose some people might already view me as a utility player, since I've played in every position along the back four and as a central midfielder," Spector told from London. "But I'd prefer not to have that role, as it can sometimes be a hindrance to regular playing time. However, I know many managers will view it as a positive."

As for setting up shop in the middle of the park, Spector says that would be just fine with him.

"I've really enjoyed playing in the center of midfield recently, and I think it might be a good position for me in the future," he stated. "There is certainly an element of defending which I am accustomed to, but on the flip side, there is also more of an opportunity to get involved in the attack, which I feel is a strength of mine."

Either way, the Chicago-area native's midfield renaissance has given him a welcome opportunity to see time on the field.

"As a player, it's always frustrating when you aren't playing, especially when your team is doing poorly and there is nothing you can do from the sidelines to impact that," said Spector. "All I could do was continue to work hard in training and wait for an opportunity." 

"That opportunity came in the center of midfield against Manchester United, which led to scoring two goals, which was a great feeling. However, it was a better feeling to win the game and contribute to that after a spell on the sidelines."

Spector and West Ham will try to climb out of the Premier League basement when they host Manchester City on Saturday afternoon.

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