Will Upson go for Euro glory?
WEST HAM defender Matty Upson has sent the strongest hint to the Big Four teams in the Premier League this week when he insisted that he needs to play in the Champions League, writes DAVE EVANS. The 30-year-old centre half has made no secret of his desi
WEST HAM defender Matty Upson has sent the strongest hint to the 'Big Four' teams in the Premier League this week when he insisted that he needs to play in the Champions League, writes DAVE EVANS.
The 30-year-old centre half has made no secret of his desire to play on the European stage, but suggested earlier in the season that he could do that while staying at West Ham.
However, the Hammers failure to earn a place in the new Europa League, as well as the player's battle for a starting place in Fabio Capello's England squad, means Upson may have to ply his trade elsewhere.
"I am desperate to play in the Champions League and that is where I want to be," said the defender, who was a model of consistency for the Hammers last season.
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"Being first choice for England is in my mind. That's what I'm striving for every day, but I'm coming from a negative position in terms of where Rio Ferdinand and John Terry have been."
Upson earned his 14th international cap for England in Kazakhstan last Saturday and is expected to play against Andorra at Wembley tonight, courtesy of Ferdinand's injury, but the West Ham man still feels he is behind in Capello's pecking order.
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"Ferdinand and Terry are well-established, solid and to come in and make myself a permanent fixture in the team is a very difficult task," he explained.
"Playing in the Champions League every season definitely puts you in a position where you can compete against the best players in the world."
Naturally, Hammers boss Gianfranco Zola is desperate for the defender to stay, but it seems likely that if Upson asks for a move, then West Ham will not stand in his way, with a return to Arsenal the most likely scenario.
A fee of around �10million could be obtained from the sale, and that would certainly please new owners Straumur, who find themselves in financial difficulties at the moment.
Upson, who has made 76 appearances in claret and blue since his �6million move from Birmingham City in January 2007, was one of the prime candidates to replace the departing Lucas Neill as club captain.
That role is now likely to go to midfielder Scott Parker for next season.