Upson eyes Moore honour
PUBLISHED: 14:53 14 August 2008 | UPDATED: 13:32 05 October 2010
By JONATHAN CLEGG MATTHEW Upson may have given up Bobby Moore s number six shirt for West Ham - but he still has his eye on the former England captain s Three Lions jersey. Upson became the last West Ham player to wear the number six during the first ha
By JONATHAN CLEGG
MATTHEW Upson may have given up Bobby Moore's number six shirt for West Ham - but he still has his eye on the former England captain's Three Lions jersey.
Upson became the last West Ham player to wear the number six during the first half of Saturday's friendly against Villareal before the shirt was retired in a half-time ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of Moore's debut for the club.
Former Birmingham star Upson reappeared after the break with the number 15 emblazoned on his back and he will continue to wear the new shirt for the rest of the season.
But Upson has not abandoned all hope of wearing the same shirt made famous by Hammers legend Moore - only this time he eyeing the white strip of England.
The 29-year-old was named in Fabio Capello's first England team in February but has since missed out on national team duty because of injury.
Now he is determined to win back his place as the England team begin their latest pursuit of the World Cup that Moore so memorably held aloft at Wembley 42 years ago.
He said: "It's a massive goal of mine [to get back in the England squad] and I'm working towards that every day.
"The England manager hasn't been in touch in any way but I'm sure they're watching a lot of the games and we've only got one Premier League game and then there's a friendly, so who knows?
"As long as I perform for West Ham, it's something I really want to be involved in."
Upson proved a worthy successor to Moore at the heart of the Hammers defence last season and his commanding displays helped establish the club's meanest defensive record for many years.
Yet Upson has revealed that he was simply honoured to wear the same number as Moore, who made more than 500 appearances for West Ham and collected a century of international caps.
"It was a big, massive honour just to actually be given the shirt when I came here," said Upson, who joined the Hammers from Birmingham in January 2007.
"I'll miss playing in it but it's been retired in the right way and in honour of somebody who is a legend at the club and for football in general. It's a big honour for me."
Upson is due to start his first match with his new shirt number against Wigan this weekend and the defender admits he is anxious to return to competitive action after missing the final weeks of last season through injury.
"I've been out a while because I missed a few games at the end of last season, so it's been a long summer for me," he said.
"But I feel my sharpness is coming back and I think a couple of games into the season I'll be back where I was.