Fredi's French Year?

Fredi Kanoute knows that after France's disappointment in the 2002 World Cup he has every chance of breaking through into the national side this season.

That is not an immodest aim, merely a realistic view of his situation given that the former world champions are likely to undergo serious renovation in the coming months, especially in view of the recent dismissal of coach Roger Lemerre.

And it echoes the thoughts of Glenn Roeder, who has put forward Fredi's name on several occasions for international recognition.

"I am looking forward to playing for France; that is what I would like to do but I it is always my goal to play well for West Ham first and foremost," says Fredi.

"But it is disappointing that we have to wait to lose like this to change the team."

Nonetheless, Fredi admits to mixed feelings about France's exit - given the country that was instrumental in knocking them out.

It was the shock opening 1-0 defeat by Senegal that went a long way towards sealing France's fate but Fredi says that, for him, there was a silver lining in the cloud.

"They didn't play very well and we were a bit disappointed, but many French people were happy for Senegal because it is a country we like - there is a big link between the two countries," he says.

"I know many Senegalese people so I was happy for them."

Fredi, now ensconced in preseason training, is happy to be back in Blighty, and concludes:

"We had a big holiday, it was enough, and now it's back to work."

As for another Frenchman, Youssef Sofiane, joining the club, Fredi says:

"I know him a little bit and I have been told he is a good player."