Carr Advice

Tony Carr has given his assessment of the quartet of West Ham players involved in England's under-21 defeat against Greece on Tuesday - and admits it was a difficult match for them.

"It was a great honour for them to start the game," he says. "But obviously it was a tough one and a disappointing performance from England.

"The Greeks were physically tougher than us, and ours was a young under-21 side who found it hard going.

"Jermain found it tough to get into the game and didn't get great service in the first half.

"All strikers need good service and he was chasing a lot of long balls, and they were diving at every opportunity.

"They say results at under-21 level don't matter but I'm sure it hurt Howard Wilkinson.

"For Joe and Michael it was coming back down to earth with a little bit of a bump, getting turned over, but it was great experience for them and I'm sure they wouldn't have wished to be anywhere else."

With two players sent off, Tony is pleased the West Ham boys kept their discipline.

"They made the most of all the challenges, and it tends to boil up and make you very frustrated.

"But that's what playing abroad in those countries is all about, although when you play them at home it is a different kettle of fish.

"To a certain degree, playing in their environment means you are playing to their rules, but I'm sure they'll be better off for the experience.

"They rolled over as if they had been poleaxed and if the referee doesn't get a grip early on to stamp it all out it boils over and we saw a lack of discipline, and some petulance with the two boys being sent off."

As for the way Joe was employed - an almost constant source of discussion after any match these days - Tony says: "It looked as if they started with a 4-4-2 though it is difficult to pinpoint a system on the television.

"It didn't appear that way throughout the game; but I'm sure at this stage he will appear anywhere for England."

He has gone on record as saying he would like to play on the left for England, and Tony says: "I think he looked at the full England side and decided that it would be hard for him to grab a central midfield role and thought the left side does tend to be a problem area, as there is nobody settled into that position.

"Joe is a versatile and adaptable player who could fill that role."

As for midfield colleague Michael, he says: "I thought he started a little bit slowly and took a while to get into the game.

"He struck his goal excellently but overall I didn't see Michael have enough of the ball and use it as well as he can at times.

"I felt he found it difficult to get into the game, but like everything you have to remember these boys are just young lads, and it's a massive learning curve for them."

As for the performance of Steve Bywater, making his first under-21 start, Tony says: "He has conceded three goals which no goalkeeper is going to be pleased about, but he's in the limelight where he wants to be.

"The Greeks deserved their win and kept peppering Steve's goal. Goalkeepers are there to be shot at, and if they make a mistake they are a villain.

"But we think he is a good goalkeeper and I think it will do his confidence a world of good having had the opportunity to play international football in the last couple of weeks."

Like everyone Tony is awaiting the choice of a new manager with interest and says: "As far as I'm aware nothing has changed and I have no further clues as to the identity of the new man.

"But I'm sure when the board are good and ready they will announce their choice."