Tomkins relishing Brazil clash
Great Britain defender James Tomkins cannot wait to face the Samba Stars from Brazil.
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Stuart Pearce's men face the most glamorous opposition imaginable in Middlesbrough next Friday for their only full-match preparation ahead of their Olympic campaign.
Tomkins recognises there is something special about Brazil, who will bring with them tournament superstar Neymar, in addition to Manchester United defender Rafael and Porto striker Hulk.
"I've watched Brazil so many times," said Tomkins. "They bring up their young lads in exactly the same way.
"Thinking about it Middlesbrough had a few Brazilians over the years.
"We know what to expect. Technically they will be very good and we'll have periods of the game where we might not have too much of the ball, so we'll have to be very disciplined."
Britain's return to Olympic combat for the first time since 1960 is of special significance to Tomkins.
The Basildon-born defender has been at West Ham since he was seven and almost every day since he heard London was going to host the Games in 2005 he has travelled past the site upon which Usain Bolt will lead the charge for glory in the 100m final on August 5.
Yet never did Tomkins realistically feel he had a chance of being involved until the countdown began to Pearce announcing his Team GB squad.
Now Tomkins knows he will be a central figure, first at Old Trafford on July 26 when Great Britain open their campaign against Senegal, and then at Wembley three days later when Group A outsiders UAE are the visitors.
"I never expected it," said the 23-year-old.
"All the years since we knew it was coming to London, you never once thought you'd be taking part in it.
"I've seen so much building work going on over the years. I've been travelling past it everyday.
"It's going to be incredible for the whole country. We can't wait for it to begin."
It marks the next stage of what has already turned out to be a year to remember for Tomkins following West Ham's return to the Premier League.
Although the Hammers have been more synonymous with struggle for far too long now, their history is littered with stardust, none more so than England's World Cup-winning skipper Bobby Moore, whose feats on the international stage provide Tomkins with a pretty stiff target to aim at.
"I feel like I'm representing West Ham as I'm the only player here," said Tomkins.
"It's a big honour. I don't try to think of what Bobby Moore achieved too much.
"What he did was unbelievable. To get anywhere near that would be massive."