Great Scott showing England form
THERE S something different about Scott Parker these days. No more can you tar him with the negative brush; no more can you liken him to Ray The Crab Wilkins. Parker is turning into an attacking midfielder, writes DAVE EVANS. Just as Jack Collison revea
THERE'S something different about Scott Parker these days. No more can you tar him with the negative brush; no more can you liken him to Ray 'The Crab' Wilkins. Parker is turning into an attacking midfielder, writes DAVE EVANS.
Just as Jack Collison revealed in last week's Recorder that he has been told to get into the opposition box as often as he can, surely Parker has been told to get forward with more regularity and cause problems in there as well.
Slowly, but surely, the transformation in the 29-year-old midfielder is beginning to become more apparent and on Saturday against Burnley, he was at his very best.
He set up Collison for the first goal with an expert piece of quick thinking, and he was at the heart of everything good in West Ham's attacking play, prompting all over the park with a swashbuckling captain's display, and even clearing one effort off the line.
And after the game, Parker was quick to play the diplomat too, making sure that he accentuated the positive aspects of Saturday's 5-3 victory over Owen Coyle's battlers.
"It was a strange game and it's a strange feeling that we won the game and got three points, but obviously I'm a little bit gutted that we've conceded three goals," he said.
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"I think at this moment, and the way things are going for us, we just need to be thinking about the positive things - we've scored five goals and won the game."
Thinking about the positive takes us straight back to Parker. The midfielder has returned to the attacking instincts that made him such a hot property at Charlton Athletic and Chelsea.
His three transfers have netted a colossal total of over �23million, but his form since his �7m move from Newcastle to West Ham in the summer of 2007 has been mixed.
As captain in Matty Upson's absence, Parker is expected to be one of the big voices in the dressing room and on the pitch, and he is endeavouring to make sure his voice is heard.
"We've got a couple of senior players in there and we all take it upon ourselves to chip in and do our best," he said.
"We've lost some key players in the squad in Lucas Neill and James Collins. They're influential and senior players that know what the Premier League's about.
"There are players in the dressing room who now have to step up. Carlton Cole is a big player now, but we all have to step up and take responsibility."
Parker must be one of those. He has now made 66 appearances in claret and blue and over 300 appearances in his career making him one of the most experienced players in the West Ham ranks.
"You get to the point in your career where you're known as an up and coming kid, then all of a sudden you've played a certain number of games and you become wiser and more experienced and you realise what to do and what not to do," said a reflective Parker.
"That's the case here with me and Matty Upson, it just happens."
Manager Gianfranco Zola certainly appreciates the role that the diminutive midfielder is playing in his team at the moment.
One of the best
"It is not the first time I have said that for me, in his position, he is one of the best," said the boss.
"He just has to keep playing like this and then many things will happen for him, all good, and I'm going to support him in that."
He will face another big test this Saturday at Upton Park when champions Manchester United are in town, but the midfield general believes that the victory over Burnley, despite the Lancastrians' fightback stands them in good stead.
"I think everyone can be negative after this game, including the players, but I honestly think being positive helps so much," he insisted.
"When you are positive, and you're around people that are positive, then it makes you positive and that's what we need to be.
"You could say it's not the best preparation letting in three goals when you are 5-0 up, but we scored five and won the game at a time when, if we'd lost this match, it wouldn't have been looking the best for us."
World Cup place
Many pundits have mentioned Parker in dispatches with regard to renewing his England career in time for next summer's World Cup, but there is one stumbling block that will inevitably count against him - goals!
Parker has scored just two in all the time he has been at West Ham and when you are competing for places alongside the likes of Frank Lampard, Stevie Gerrard and even Gareth Barry, it makes it very difficult to make a case for the Hammer.
But with Parker's newly-found attacking instincts, half a dozen goals before the end of the season, starting with one against United on Saturday, and who knows what Capello will be thinking when he comes to pick his final squad?