Lampard's Foxe Confusion

Frank Lampard cannot understand what Hayden Foxe is doing on the other side of the earth.

Foxey is on international duty with Australia who have just beaten Tonga 22-0, a world cup record.

Next up, it is American Samoa, who you could say are to world football what Worcester City are to the british game.

How ironic, that just after Hayden made his debut after waiting eight months to get the relevant papers, he has had to traipse to the others side of the globe to endure nothing more than training work outs that will end in inevitable qualification for the Socceroos.

Their next opponents' coach has even said he would 'pray to god to keep the score down' such is the inevitability of the outcome.

So don't listen to to the old cliche that 'there is no such thing as an easy international anymore'.

It is, of course, arrant nonsense, and Frank says:

"What bad timing, but there is nothing you can do about it; if he didn't go he wouldn't have been allowed to play anyway."

Paul Okon of Middlesbrough, of course, was allowed to stay behind, and West Ham made representations to keep Foxey behind, too.

"We tried and couldn't do it," says Frank.

"We made phone calls and spoke to all the right people but it didn't come across.

"You need your best players, and we have a suspension with Stuart Pearce coming up.

"But there is nothing you can do about it if they won't release him.

"Do they really need him if they have games like that to play in?

"And I'll have to have a word with him about not scoring!"

Foxey's recent debut was a decent one, says Frank, who says:

"I thought he did all right in that game though we didn't play particularly well as a team, obviously.

"He was about the brightest spot of it, though.

"He's neat on the ball, he has a lot more to come in his game, and I think he is going to be one for the future."

Not that Frank expects relegation to be an issue by the time the Hammers visit Middlesbrough on the last day of the season.

He stresses that the need to banish that dark thought is of paramount importance, and says:

"When these things happen to you it gives you a warning; I know we will be alright but we don't want to be in that position again.

"Let's get it cleared up, let's get it done with, and start afresh again next year."