Carrick Aims High

Michael Carrick admits he is "desperate" to go to the World Cup finals in Japan and South Korea next summer.

And it is that aim which is spurring him on as he looks to help push the Hammers up the Premiership table in the coming weeks.

"To be talked about as maybe going to the World Cup is a bit funny as it has happened so quickly, but I'm just delighted.

"It is in the back of your mind a little bit, not that I'm thinking about it all the time, but if Sven or one of his scouts is watching, then you have to be playing well to get in the squad, so hopefully I can lift my game a little bit more and achieve that.

"I'm desperate to go to the World Cup now; there is a lot of hype just starting to build up and everyone is excited by it."

Fitness permitting, he is certain to get international action one way or the other at the end of the season for, if he does not make the senior 22, he will be involved with David Platt's under-21s in the European Championship finals.

His goal against Holland recently sealed qualification of course, and he says: "It was nice to get a tap in for the under-21s, but I got a bit of stick from the gaffer because he wanted to know why don't I get in the six-yard box for us!

"But hopefully that will come later on, and I've already doubled my tally for last year in the league, though I didn't really get the chance to go forward at Charlton - that was just the state of the game.

"But I am hoping to get forward more and get a few goals this season."

But it is being on the plane to the Far East next summer that really drives him on - and he hopes to have some club colleagues for company.

"It would be unbelievable if I could get there with other mates from West Ham as well, but there is a long season ahead with a few ups and downs along the way."

Nothing would please him more than his good friend Joe Cole also making the cut, and he adds: "It is nice to see Joe back and he did well on Monday; we have missed him and it has been frustrating for him.

"Hopefully he can start putting some performances together now and helping us to some good results."