Nigel: I Agree With Sven

On the day that the players report back for their preparations for the new season, Nigel Winterburn is backing Sven-Goran Eriksson's call for a mid-winter break!

Not, though, that Nigel is feeling the rigours of preseason already, of course.

But he does feel that the notion of a pause midwinter is a good one - even if it means starting the season earlier.

Were it put into operation, the Hammers could have been playing the first of the friendlies about now, and of course Glenn Roeder did not want to risk stresses and strains to his players in early July by competing in the InterToto cup.

All of which points to quite a conundrum for the authorities as they decide whether to take up the England manager's call.

But, unlike many supporters of the idea, Nigel sees a potential break as adding time to the END of the campaign.

"It is a difficult question, because I think the break is short enough as it is - but maybe we could carry on for another couple of weeks at the end of the season," he says.

"But it doesn't seem five minutes since we finished, and here we are, back again.

"I think it will come in eventually, but how long it will take I don't know - but I don't think it is going to be bothering me too much.

"I would imagine it will be in the next two or three years and it will be a good thing for players to get a short break to recharge and then go again for the rest of the season.

"And if there are major tournaments at the end of the season the players will be a lot fresher as well.

"But it is such a tight schedule in the Premiership with all the teams in it now, it is one of the reasons stopping it."

Trevor Sinclair certainly didn't look jaded in the World Cup, and Nigel is delighted for him - though he also felt for Joe Cole not getting more action.

"When Trevor came on and played against Argentina, I don't think Joe was 100% fit having played in the game before," he says.

"Once Trevor came in and played really well, I'd have thought in the Brazil game you'd have had to have brought Joe into the middle of midfield to maybe run at players.

"He didn't really get the chance in this World Cup but let's just say that he has a few more years left in him!

"He'll be involved with England for a long time yet so he has got a lot to look forward to."

But time is something Nigel hasn't got on his side, and he admits:

"But from my point of view I know it is probably going to be my last year, so I am going to try and enjoy it as much as I can - and then see what happens after that."