Doc: Trio Will Get Time Off

Club doctor Ges Steinbergs says that West Ham's three England representatives are likely to be given extra time off when the other players report back for pre-season training in early July.

"To have three in the national squad for the World Cup finals is not bad going for a club like ourselves," he says.

"I think they had a bit of a rest in Dubai then started building up after that, but there is always a risk when someone is playing through the summer.

"One of the things we may be able to do to compensate is let them back later into pre-season so that they have a bit of a rest before coming back, otherwise - if we go a long way and they play through the whole of June - they will be reporting back to pre-season within seven days of returning.

"So I am sure we will offer the lads some compensation, certainly if England have a long run, because you do need some time to let your body recover."

Ges is certainly concerned about David James, Trevor Sinclair and Joe Cole - who missed training on Wednesday - being fresh when they do return, and adds: "There has been some speculation in the papers that blood tests have shown that the players are fatigued, and fatigued more than their European counterparts.

"I have not seen the details of that, but certainly playing in the Premiership is considered to be the hardest league in the world, with the pace of the game and some of the tackles that go in, too.

"It is not really about rest, it is recovery, and the boys deserve it, but hopefully there will be no burn out.

"England seem to be handling people very sensibly of late, and I think that is a good sign. They are looking more at individual players and their needs, they have a sports scientist and a dietician.

"In fact they are very much along similar lines to how we have been working at West Ham in the last year in trying to change a lot of things round.

"Anything we can do to help our players and to help them with the national side can only be good for the country.

"We are pulling together. I'm sure people know we are very pro the national team and want our players to play - but obviously we don't want to send them out when it is a hopeless situation with injury, because that doesn't help England and nor does it help us."

Ges defends Glenn Roeder's decision not to enter the InterToto competition this summer, and adds: "I'd love to see us in Europe, but the InterToto is a haul of games. We had a pretty good season, but I think Glenn's point is quite right that we don't have a big squad, and to start the games early - particularly in the season when the World Cup is there - we are going to be asking a lot.

"We may have played two or three games, not progress, and find that we are then struggling. The Premiership is the most important thing, to stay there and win it.

"I'd love Europe, but I think the manager has to make a balanced decision and I can see his reasoning and I think it is the right decision.

"It may not seem it from a glory point of view, but there are important things at the football club to take into account of and it would be an extra hard slog.

"I would hate to see the team fade and die for very little, but let's hope that next season we are not talking about the InterToto, we are talking about the UEFA Cup or, even better, the Champions' League.

"That is the dream - and maybe it will come true."

Only Don Hutchison, at this stage, will miss the start of the season, and Ges is hoping that the Hammers are lucky with injuries next season.

"With a small squad we haven't got the finances and the major names like Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea, so we have to do the best with what we have got," he says.

"We lost David James due to an accidental clash with Martin Keown so we didn't have him for the early part of the season, and neither did we have Joe.

"Once you get them back it takes a little time for them to find their feet and get the match play up to scratch, but both progressed through the months and have really earned their places in the England squad."