Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Upson Eyes England

Matthew Upson is desperate to make up for lost time by forcing himself into the mind of England manager Fabio Capello, starting with West Ham's FA Cup third round replay against Manchester City at Eastlands tonight. Upson picked up seven caps between May 2003 and November 2004 and was named on standby for Euro 2004. But the 28-year-old has not been considered for international duty since and is welcoming the Italian's fresh outlook.

The centre-half insists he is in the form of his life and is determined to show Capello what he can do against Sven-Goran Eriksson's City side, who drew 0-0 at Upton Park 11 days ago. "I've got personal goals I want to get to and international honours is certainly on that list," Upson said. "It's a level playing field now, and Capello appears to be a manager who will take everything at face value. He seems to go on form, so it would be nice to get a fresh look and emphasis on the set-up. I think my form's been very consistent and I'm working as hard as I've ever worked. I'm as focused as I've ever been."

Upson is slightly unfortunate that the centre-back position is one of the few in which England are well stocked, but the former Arsenal and Birmingham City man is unfazed by the competition. "It would just make my achievement even greater if I do get into the squad, so whether or not we've got a lot of good centre-halves it's up to me to produce my best form and be as good as everyone else," he explained.

Elsewhere, West Ham striker Carlton Cole admits that victory, with the winner travelling to Sheffield United in the fourth round, could transform the season of Alan Curbishley's mid-table side. "The next game is going to be vital for us and the club as a whole," Cole said. "It will give everyone a boost."

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