After the Lord Mayor’s show

JUST THREE days after the euphoria of England s qualification for the World Cup next summer, it was back down to earth for Robert Green and Matthew Upson on Saturday at Wigan, and the fall was certainly not to their liking, writes DAVE EVANS. While Carlto

JUST THREE days after the euphoria of England's qualification for the World Cup next summer, it was back down to earth for Robert Green and Matthew Upson on Saturday at Wigan, and the fall was certainly not to their liking, writes DAVE EVANS.

While Carlton Cole didn't figure at Wembley on Wednesday, Green and Upson were at the heart of the action and for the England goalkeeper it was a great experience.

"They were a fantastic couple of games and I've taken a lot of positives from them," said Green.

"Wednesday was undoubtedly one of the highlights of my career. It was wonderful to be involved and it's given me a real taste and a flavour for more.

"But you want to take that form into games for West Ham. You want to take the guys here onto another level from the experiences you've had with England and we didn't do that.

"It does put a dampener on it, because what you do with your club reflects on what you do internationally."

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For Upson, he felt that West Ham never really got going against Wigan and it was something of an anti-climax after the 5-1 thumping of Croatia.

"It was a bit of a disappointment really," said the centre half. "I was on a bit of a high after Wednesday night, and the first game for your club is always quite difficult.

"You have been away on international duty for 10 days and you have to mentally approach it properly and really get stuck into it, and I don't think we managed that.

"I would say that we probably didn't deserve to lose, but we didn't create enough or play anywhere near to the potential that we have, so it was a disappointing afternoon really."

It was a far cry from Wembley Stadium last Wednesday and the aftermath in the national newspapers, but even after a 5-1 win, Green did not escape criticism in some part for the Croatian consolation goal, scored by Eduardo, despite two brilliant saves in the moments before it hit the England net.

"I feel I've got to earn my place even more so now," confessed the former Norwich City goalkeeper. "There's a critical eye on everything you do and every game you play.

"If you are not playing well, you won't go to the World Cup. It's on your form and there are no reputations, you've got to earn everything you get and I'm certainly not taking anything for granted."

The excitement and hype about the trip to South Africa has already started, but for Upson, he thinks that the team need to improve, though he believes they do have a great opportunity next summer.

"I think we have got a chance the same as anyone else," said the 30-year-old, who has featured in every one of Fabio Capello's squads.

"I think we have got a lot of improving to do, we need to get a lot better in order to do that, but we are on the right track. It seems that we have got the right foundations to have success, so let's hope so."

Capello has already begun his plans for the competition by banning the wives and girlfriends (WAGS) of the players from disrupting preparation over in South Africa, and when asked whether that would be carried through, the two West Ham stars were singing from the same hymn sheet.

"It's all going to be pretty business-like. You've got a manager who knows exactly what he wants. There will be an opportunity to meet with the family after games, but there will be minimal disruption, that's for sure," said Green, while Upson echoed those sentiments.

"I am sure if some family members go over there to watch some of the games, there might be an opportunity to meet up with them afterwards.

"But it's pretty business-like and I'm sure the manager will have that all worked out. There will be minimum distractions I can assure you."

It seems that Capello has got the players well trained even in the art of talking to the press these days!

West Ham won the World Cup in 1966, everyone knows that, now with Upson, Green and maybe Carlton Cole in their ranks, they could do the same again in 2009.

However, as Green suggested, they have to keep up their good form for their clubs and if West Ham continue to waver in the Premier League, that may be easier said than done.

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