Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Icky Thump

And if I'm wasting my time
then nothing could be better
than hanging on the line
and waiting for an honest word forever

The media speculation machine is running red hot today and I'm not talking about the dubious
Meg White sex tape furore that seems to be sweeping the internet at the moment. According to several newspapers Michael Owen's latest injury setback means Steve McClaren is likely to take a close look at
Dean Ashton for England's crucial Euro 2008 qualifiers against Estonia and Russia next month. Ashton has taken more than a year to recover from a broken ankle but has now scored two goals in two games for his club, including a superb volley during Sunday's 3-1 defeat at Newcastle. "It's down to Steve McClaren who he picks but obviously I'd be delighted to be selected," said Ashton. "I feel I'm ready for an England call-up. It would be lovely to finally realise my dream of winning a first England cap, but I just have to be patient and I will be working as hard as possible for West Ham and, hopefully, it will come some time. I wouldn’t be playing if I wasn’t ready for an England call-up. I have been ready for a long time."

The player broke his ankle 13 months ago while training with England before the friendly match against Greece, robbing him of an international debut, but, more significantly, causing him to miss the entire season. His comeback has been gruelling, but two goals in his past two appearances for West Ham have boosted confidence. "What kept me going over the last year was just the thought of playing again and being able to go out and enjoy my football, so I’m really pleased that I’m back doing that," he said. "I feel very good. I'm glad I got 90 minutes under my belt and I was glad to get a goal but, above all, I want my team to do well and I'd like to think that my progression will help us climb the table."

During his rehabilitation Ashton was treated by John Green, a physiotherapist who has also worked with Owen, and he watched a lot of games. "I worked on every aspect of my physique with John Green but I also watched a lot of football, other teams as well as West Ham, and learnt a lot by looking at things from the outside. Being an onlooker taught me a lot," he said. "I feel I've a better understanding of football, a better feel for it. Getting the chance to watch other teams was good for me. It's massively exciting to be back, though; I really appreciate every minute I play now and I'd like to think I can help West Ham progress up the table. I'm feeling very good at the moment. I feel I'm 100% fit and that I can last the games really well. As for sharpness, I am improving day by day. It was a long, long time to be out, so it does take a long time to get all that back, but I am getting very close."

Physically imposing, the Hammers striker is in the mould of the traditional centre-forward and is pleased to see his breed apparently coming back into fashion. According to The Times, the recuperation of Ashton- a player who boasts a similar bulky physique to Heskey and could replicate the qualities of the Wigan Athletic player- represents a small glimmer of hope for the national team. "I thought Emile Heskey was outstanding for England against Israel and Russia. It was great for him to be recalled and he responded with two excellent performances so hopefully that shows there is room for a big guy up front," said Ashton.

Elsewhere, Kieron Dyer has revealed that he has been given a huge lift by the support he has received from his team-mates and the Hammers faithful as he recovers from his own injury nightmare. The midfielder suffered the injury against Bristol Rovers in the Carling Cup last month on just his third appearance for West Ham United. The England international is expected to be out for six months and Dyer is aiming to be back in the West Ham team 'sooner rather than later'. "I have been passed so many messages that the fans have been sending in," Dyer said. "Nearly every member of the squad came to see me and a lot of the staff as well. That was brilliant and really gave me a lift, considering I have only been at Upton Park a short space of time. I have been trying to stay as positive as I can. The physios and my specialist were really pleased with how the operation went and said there is no reason why I shouldn't make a full recovery. I'm focusing on that for now and getting some rest before I begin my rehab shortly. They don't give exact timescales with this type of injury because some people heal a lot quicker than others. Also, there can be complications when you have screws put in, so you have to play it by ear really. But I am just staying positive and focusing on being back and playing for West Ham sooner rather than later."

No comments:


Copyright 2007 ID Media Inc, All Right Reserved. Crafted by Nurudin Jauhari