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Ashton a must for England

PUBLISHED: 15:28 27 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:09 05 October 2010

By JONATHAN CLEGG ROBERT Green has backed West Ham team-mate Dean Ashton to follow him into Fabio Capello s England squad following the keeper s late call-up this week. Green was finally rewarded for his consistent performances this season when he was na

By JONATHAN CLEGG

ROBERT Green has backed West Ham team-mate Dean Ashton to follow him into Fabio Capello's England squad following the keeper's late call-up this week.

Green was finally rewarded for his consistent performances this season when he was named as a late replacement for Chris Kirkland, who withdrew from England duty with a back injury.

The 28-year-old goalkeeper was West Ham's only representative in the squad that faced France last night after Matthew Upson was also forced to pull out through injury.

But Green is confident that number will soon be swelled by a call-up for Ashton.

The Hammers striker netted his second goal in as many weeks at Everton last weekend and looks close to recapturing the form that fired the club to the FA Cup final two years ago.

Ashton was called into the England squad on the back of those displays, and Green believes the forward will force his way into Capello's plans for the summer friendlies against the United States and the Czech Republic if can maintains his current form.

"As a forward, you're judged on scoring goals, and Dean scored one last week and one this week, so he's getting there," said Green.

"If you look at English strikers, you've got the likes of Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen, but the one thing that they're missing is what Dean offers.

"He's got unique attributes for English centre forwards at this moment in time and he's ideal for a big centre forward.

"It's something that he's got half an eye on, but it's about getting him out on the pitch week in, week out and getting him back up to where he can be and where he did it for West Ham for half a season."

Ashton has endured a slow recovery from the ankle injury he sustained on England duty at the beginning of last season, which saw him sidelined for the entire campaign.

The former Norwich forward suffered a setback in November, missing seven weeks with a knee injury, and West Ham manager Alan Curbishley has opted to ease him back into action.

But Green believes Curbishley's patience has helped Ashton finally overcome his fitness problems, paving the way for a return to the international fold.

"It's difficult for him because he's a fantastic player but he's someone who's got to be well managed physically," Green said.

"He's going to struggle sometimes with the demands of playing week in, week out and he's got to be helped through it.

"It takes a lot out of Dean playing in games. It's not to do with his size or his physical attributes, it just takes a lot out of him and he needs to be managed until the following weekend.

"But he's coming back and his qualities are so vast that as long as we can keep him fit and healthy then his quality is going to shine through.

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