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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 8, 2008

Upson can inspire our English players - Curbishley

Alan Curbishley hopes West Ham United's 'healthy contingent' of young Englishmen will be inspired by Matthew Upson's return to the England team.

Upson's form for the Hammers was rewarded on Wednesday night when Fabio Capello awarded him a first international start in over three years.

Hammers goalkeeper Robert Green and striker Dean Ashton were considered unlucky not to receive the call, while Mark Noble shone at the heart of midfield for the England Under-21s on Tuesday.

Curbishley said: 'We have a healthy contingent of players perhaps Capello should look at and they can all take inspiration from Matthew Upson.

'Franco Baldini, who does a lot of the scouting, was at our two games against Manchester City and the Liverpool game.

'We know we have been well watched so anyone who is playing at the moment has got to be looking to impress us at West Ham but also to impress the England set-up.

'We have got an English spine in our squad. Anton Ferdinand is playing well and Capello would have taken note of that.

'(Scott) Parker was doing ever so well before he got injured. Kieron Dyer was in the last England squad before he came to us, they will be looking at Dean Ashton and Mark Noble as well.'

After being sent out on loan to Ipswich last season, Noble has developed quickly into a vital cog in the West Ham side.

Last week Noble held his nerve to score the last minute penalty to beat Liverpool - and Curbishley would not be surprised if he had caught Capello's eye, especially with under-21 coach Stuart Pearce also part of the senior set-up.

Curbishley added: 'He is playing regularly for the under-21s and the Liverpool game demonstrated what he is about.

'When I play Mark Noble, I know what I am going to get. He gives it everything he has got. Stuart Pearce is a big fan so will have to see.'

When Upson joined West Ham a year ago from Birmingham he was out of favour with England and determined that a fresh start at Upton Park would re-ignite his international ambitions.

Upson was injured on his debut against Aston Villa and had to watch the majority of West Ham's thrilling survival campaign from the stands.

But this season he has been an ever-present in what is statistically the fifth best defence in the Premier League.

The challenge now for Upson is to maintain his form and keep hold of a place in the squad when more established internationals like Ledley King and John Terry return from injury for next month's game against France.

'We are all very pleased for Matty,' said Curbishley.

'He is a very good player, a very good professional and very good around the training ground. I don't think he has done himself any harm for the future.

'He has got to stay fit and keep playing well and wait for the next squad. I think he will be delighted with it.'

Upson will face Birmingham tomorrow for the first time since leaving St Andrews as West Ham look to bounce back from their defeat at Wigan last weekend.