Upson eyes Hammers stay

Matthew Upson says he wants to open talks on a new long-term contract at West Ham

By JONATHAN CLEGG

Matthew Upson says he wants to open talks on a new long-term contract at West Ham.

Upson has emerged as one of the Premier League's leading defenders since joining the Hammers in a �6m move from Birmingham in 2007 and has become a regular member of the England squad under Three Lions boss Fabio Capello.

The 29-year-old was linked with a big-money exit from Upton Park during the January transfer window but West Ham refused to listen to offers for the England ace.


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Manager Gianfranco Zola has named Upson as one of his key players and expressed his desire to agree a new long-term contract with the defender.

Fellow England international Scott Parker penned a new deal last month while Hammers captain Lucas Neill and goalkeeper Robert Green are also discussing contract extensions.

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Now Upson has revealed that he is willing to begin discussions over extending his current deal.

He admits that West Ham have yet to make a formal offer but the club's progress under Zola has persuaded Upson to commit his future to the Hammers.

He said: "I haven't heard a thing [about a new contract] but I believe other players have been in touch and I may be next on the list.

"When that moment comes, we'll sit down and have a chat. I'm happy with the way things are going here and I'm enjoying my football."

Upson added that last weekend's win over Manchester City has given a major boost to the club's hopes of qualifying for European football in the final weeks of the campaign.

The Hammers suffered a devastating blow when they were dumped out of the FA Cup by Middlesbrough last week, but responded by climbing up to seventh position in the league table, which could net a European berth next season.

Upson said: "It was a massive win. It sets us up going into the hard part of the season. It's lifted the belief and maintained that we're on the right track and doing the right things and the players have the right mentality.

"We needed to regroup and address what went wrong at Middlesbrough because it was a real disappointment and was a wasted opportunity to do something in the FA Cup.

"But the manager just told us to keep believing in what we're doing and we put it right on Sunday.

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