Steve Plays On

Steve Bywater still has plenty of football to play this season - even though the side where he was on loan, Cardiff City, are now out of the play-offs.

Steve was brought in as cover by Lennie Lawrence as the Bluebirds chased a spot in the first division - a mission which ended on Wednesday night with a home defeat to Stoke City.

Says Steve:

"I just sat as a sub on the bench alongside Sam Hammam but it was nice to be involved as a sub which I haven't been at West Ham lately.

"It is about experience and I was travelling with the first team, and that is what the manager said I would get when he asked if I wanted to go there.

"The lads were gutted last night, and I was to be fair, because I have been with them for six weeks and they deserved to go up."

But Steve has already left Wales, and explains:

"I have gone straight from Cardiff to Reading to meet all the U20 lads for the Toulon tournament, and Shaun Byrne is going out there for Ireland.

"We play China on Monday, as well as Poland and Brazil.

"It is a bit hectic with a lot of travelling but it is what I enjoy doing - it is good to get away."

That tournament ends on 19th May whereas the U21s meet up seven days earlier, and Steve adds: "It overlaps, though I could play in that as well if there are injuries - but my main concentration is to play for the U20s."

Steve enjoyed his Welsh experience even though he didn't play for the first team, and says: "Since I have been away West Ham have been flying, haven't they!?

"Trevor rang me up to tell me that, but I said Cardiff have been winning every other game as well, so don't worry.

"But it did make me fed up earlier in the season having an injury for four months; that really got on my nerves.

"But I have to get in as many games as I can now, and then concentrate on next season - playing games is what it is all about.

"I just want to keep going at West Ham; we start back at the beginning of July and do well in preseason, hopefully get a few games in, and play whenever."

Although the late Les Sealey was Steve's original mentor at Upton Park, guiding him to a first team debut, the youngster insists:

"Ludo is a great bloke and good to work with - that's what you need.

"I am still learning wherever I go - West Ham, Cardiff, England when I go away with them - different coaches do different things."

While away in France, Steve will keep an eye on the Hammers' last game of the season against Bolton, and he declares:

"We should win that and hopefully finish seventh."