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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 2, 2007

New Hammer Upson sets sights on England

Matthew Upson has set himself a double target of helping keep West Ham in the Premiership and earning a place in the England squad.

The 27-year-old defender completed a controversial switch from Coca-Cola Championship high-fliers Birmingham on transfer deadline day, for an initial fee of £6million with a further £1.5million dependent on appearances.

The move raised eyebrows in some quarters, with the clubs facing the possibility of swapping places at the end of the season.

The former Arsenal man, though, maintains his 'focus' is now only on a positive future.

'I have big personal goals and I am currently the most ambitious, focused and driven than at any point in my whole career,' said Upson.

'I have had a lot of setbacks in my time, but an England call-up is something that I am striving for every week.

'Yes, there is pressure, and the expectations go up when people pay a lot of money for you - but that is what I work for every day.

'I want to be relied upon and accept responsibility because it makes you do great things.

'The spotlight is on me, but I am going to out and enjoy my football - if you put pressure on yourself, it will only start adversely affecting your performance.'

Upson would not be drawn on whether, like fellow new recruit Lucas Neill, his contract contains a release clause in the event of his new side's relegation.

The defender maintained it was the right time to move on from the Blues.

'I had spent four years there and I needed a change,' he said.

'Sometimes you spend a lot of time in a place and you get comfortable.

'I felt that a move to a club who were in the Premiership and with the size and history of West Ham was the right one for me.

'There is no one issue with Birmingham - I had a good relationship with people there - but this is a good career move.'

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