Jermain Ready And Willing

Glenn Roeder has backed Jermain Defoe to ignore the Charlton boo-boys tonight and focus on his game should he get a taste of the action at some point.

While it seems sadly inevitable that he will receive a certain amount of catcalls from some Charlton supporters, disappointed at his departure from The Valley two years ago, Glenn says he will be able to deal with it.

"Jermain Defoe will be one of the players there will be a particular spotlight on, going back to Charlton, and I'm sure that at some time during the game he would want to get on to the field and do well," says Glenn.

"He is very much a West Ham player now and loves playing for the club.

"He has handled everything in his short football life so far in his stride; he has got great belief in himself, as all players should have, but particularly strikers.

"Nothing fazes him, really, and he will be looking forward to the game more than anybody.

"It certainly wouldn't be a problem for me or Jermain if he gets on the pitch."

If the mental strength doesn't need too much work, the physical strength does, and Glenn adds: "Every month he is getting stronger and we are working him hard in the gym to make the upper half of his body stronger, as he is not the biggest and doesn't carry a lot of weight.

"He needs to become as strong as he can on that top half of the body so that when he receives the ball, he can resist the challenges of the defenders who are trying to win it off him.

"There is no way he is fully developed yet, no player of 19 possibly could be, but hopefully come the end of the season he will be that little bit further down the road."

Jermain, along with Michael Carrick, made his contribution for England under-21s against Holland in their European Championship play-off victory recently, and Glenn adds: "I am very pleased for Jermain and Michael that England have qualified for the European Championship finals next summer.

"That can only add to their experience, particularly Jermain, as we are very hopeful that Michael will get into the final 22 for the World Cup.

"I thought both boys played a major part in that 1-0 win over Holland, and it goes without saying that Michael got the all important goal.

"It was great to see him score in the six yard box; we more often associate his goals with 25-yard spectacular shots, but we have been on to Michael about getting into the penalty area more often on crosses and he did that very well.

"He is already on three goals this year and I am very hopeful that, come the end of the season, he can get to six or seven."