West Ham boss Slaven Bilic has defended the decision to allow James Tomkins to leave the club, claiming he wanted to go.

Hammers boss on Tomkins exit

Hammers boss on Tomkins exit

The Hammers defence has been porous this season and there have been many fans who have questioned the wisdom of allowing Tomkins to leave during the transfer window but Bilic says it was out of his hands.

Tomkins moved to Crystal Palace for £10m in the summer, where he signed a five year deal and has been a regular in their starting line up, and Bilic said it was the player who pushed for the move.

He said: "It was never me or the club that wanted to sell him. James wanted to play week in, week out. I used him a lot last year and he played many games for us. But when he wasn’t the first choice, he found it very hard in a nice and sporting way. Not in a bad way.

"That is the reason. I hate to sell. For me it was always the plan to play local players – West Ham academy players, then London-based players, then English, then British.

"Then, if we can’t find that, we go abroad. Tomkins is local.”