Paolo: No Regrets

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Paolo Di Canio says he will have no regrets when he steps out against Manchester United at the weekend - knowing that he could have been doing so in a red shirt.

He says: "I'm very happy to be a West Ham player and, whatever the rumours in the media, who can write what they want, the truth is that if I had wanted to go I could have gone.

"But I didn't want to go, I didn't push, because I love to play here and finish my career here - one year and another two months, for sure, then we will see what happens.

"I am very happy to play with my armband and my claret and blue shirt AGAINST Manchester United and do my best for my supporters and my team.

"I feel part of this squad with the shirt and I don't see why I have to change."

There will be no room for sentiment as he looks to help the Hammers to what would be, rather improbably given the opposition, the first double of the season.

Indeed there will only be two more chances to achieve such a distinction this campaign - against Ipswich and Newcastle.

"Man United need a special concentration and a special performance from all the members of our squad, every single one, if we want to have a good result," he insists.

"They are very good players and if you give them just two or three chances you know you will be punished. "I will try to give my best as usual but, like my team mates, I have to do something more."

It is not yet known if Sven-Goran Eriksson will be at the game, though it is a fair bet that he will.

And, if that is the case, Paolo will have three top managers drooling over his performance - Glenn, happy that he is still able to call upon his services, an envious Sir Alex Ferguson, and Sven-Goran, who said recently that if Paolo was English he would take him to the World Cup.

There have been suggestions that Paolo, having lived on these shores for over five years, could apply for a British passport and then play for England as he has not represented his own country at full international level.

A fanciful theory, perhaps, and a loophole Paolo is not prepared to explore.

"No, I am Italian, of course, and for English people they would be more proud to see English players playing with the three lions in an England shirt," he says.

"Unfortunately I speak very bad English, but I am happy that Eriksson said he would take me to the World Cup if I was an English player.

"This confirms that he looks on me as a good player, and I am very happy, because when you get a complement from a manager like Alex Ferguson or Eriksson you can't ask more in your job.

"For this I would like to show them that they are right even if only one game doesn't change an opinion - but I want to show once again that they are right."

Glenn Roeder has no concerns about the build-up to the game affecting Paolo, meanwhile, and says:

"Paolo is an experienced, professional player and will be up for the game - regardless of what has happened."