Matthew Etherington has admitted that competition in the West Ham side is fierce, but the winger is determined to keep his place in the starting XI.
Hammers boss Alan Curbishley has strengthened his squad with 10 players this summer, however Etherington got the nod to start against Reading and scored a brace.
West Ham went on to win the game 3-0 and the pacey wide-man put in a man-of-the-match performance.
Etherington believes his hard work during pre-season paid dividends and is now focused on keeping the likes of Luis Boa Morte out of the side.
"There is a lot of competition for places here at the moment," Etherington said.
"The manager brought a lot of good quality over the summer so we all have to work that much harder to win our place in the team.
"I got my head down over pre-season and worked hard, came off the bench against Manchester City and got my place in the team and now I just need to make sure I keep it."
Curbishley explained that Etherington and Boa Morte have both been competing for the wide-left position, and the rivalry is fierce.
"Since Luis came in there's been a bit of a tussle between the two of them but he (Etherington) worked hard in pre-season and, just like Lee Bowyer recently, Matty's grabbed his opportunity," Curbishley said.
"I'm delighted for all the boys who have come into the team because they've really stepped up to the plate."