Upson can see Capello likeness in Zola

Matthew Upson believes West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola can emulate the success of compatriot Fabio Capello

By JONATHAN CLEGG

Matthew Upson believes West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola can emulate the success of compatriot Fabio Capello because the two Italians have a similar philosophy.

The Hammers defender has become a regular member of the England squad under Three Lions boss Capello and was named in the squad for this week's Wembley double header against Slovakia and Ukraine.

Capello has revitalised the national team since succeeding former coach Steve McClaren, while Hammers boss Zola has worked wonders at Upton Park following his appointment in September last year.


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Upson believes the duo's spectacular achievements are the result of a shared tactical vision, which stands them apart from their managerial counterparts.

The 29-year-old also revealed that the two managers have similar characters and both emphasise the importance of keeping possession of the ball.

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He said: "There are a lot of similarities in their character and the way they view football. They have a real tactical knowledge. Italian football is more tactical than the hustle and bustle of English football.

"Both managers have brought tactical awareness to their teams and that will make us better structured teams.

"At the top level that is the only way you can play football. Zola was a flair player and loved passing and moving the ball. Playing with Fabio Capello it is the same thing.

"If we don't have the ball we have a good shape and are hard to break down."

Upson was one of three West Ham players in the England squad, with Upton Park team-mates Robert Green and Carlton Cole also selected in the senior squad.

The trio's involvement with the international set-up continues the club's famous history of producing England players and Upson admits that the current team are well aware of the tradition.

"It's massive and something West Ham are very proud of," he said.

"When the country last won the World Cup there was a big West Ham influence so it is very positive to have three players in the current squad.

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