Frank Backs Paolo

Former Hammers hero Frank McAvennie says he wishes he could roll back the years to play alongside Paolo Di Canio.

With Harry Redknapp's search for a prolific striker set to reach fruition this summer, a player of Frank's goalscoring ability is the target.

Javi Moreno of Alaves has certainly caught the eye as he has helped propel the little known Spanish club through to the UEFA Cup Final - ironically with Jordi Cruyff, whom Harry was interested in signing last summer from Manchester United.

But former star Frank wishes he was younger, and says: "I like Paolo: he gets angry.

"I would love to be on the same field as him, though it would have been a bit hectic. I could have done the diving and he could have taken the penalties!

"He is a hell of a player, and obviously enjoys causing upsets with some of the comments he makes. I don't understand why he doesn't play for Italy.

"Sometimes he should release it a bit more but I think he understands that. You couldn't coach him though; he would drive you mad.

"At Upton Park they love characters like that, but I can't understand it when they say there is pressure on boys earning £25,000 or £40,000 a week.

"When I played there were boys struggling to pay their mortgages on £200 a week. I'd have been walking around with a permanent smile if I was earning their sort of money. But the game is a bit boring at the moment and no-one is playing with a smile on their face."

Frank is now training to be a coach and bouncing back from a court case which found him innocent of being a drug dealer.

He says: "If I was I'd have been the poorest drug dealer on God's earth!

"The police told lies but it all came out in the court case. They tried to get me involved because of my name, and I became like a leper - no-one spoke to me.

"I have been guilty of a lot of things but that is not one of them."