Laurent Looking Forward

Laurent Courtois says that he will come back next season better equipped for Premiership football.

Laurent, who made five starts and three substitute appearances since his free transfer signing last summer, fell victim to some degree to Joe Cole's switch to the left hand side and, understandably found it hard to get more games as a result.

But he is determined to give Joe a run for his money next season, the second of his two year contract at the club.

And, having had a chat with Glenn Roeder about his first team opportunities, he reveals: "He said to me if I was more powerful maybe he would give me more games and that is why I am going to do some work this summer to be stronger.

"That will be good for me and hopefully persuade Glenn to use me more."

As for that competition with Joe, he knows it is a gargantuan task to dislodge him from the side, and admits: "My disappointment is that Joe will play even when he is not 100%. Sometimes I have seen him after games not walking normally, because he has wanted to play so much.

"Maybe if he played less he would be a better player!"

Laurent will be keeping a close eye on the West Ham players involved for England and adds: "Joe, Trevor, and Jamo - I will be supporting them and hope they do well, but I don't think they will beat France.

"Joe can have a very good World Cup but I am surprised Eriksson didn't take Trevor in the first place, because for me, after Beckham, he was the one who could make the difference on the right or left side.

"It was a bad surprise for me to see that he was just a sub. What a season he had, and what a player he is - I really think he deserves more games."

As for Fredi Kanoute's absence from the French squad, Laurent says: "For me it is unbelievable why Fredi is not in the France squad. I don't know if the coach Roger Lemerre comes to see the games, but if he did he would see that he has to go - it is disgusting."

As for the debate about whether Fredi is a better player than Nicolas Anelka, fuelled by the assumption, since dispelled, that Liverpool would attempt to sign Fredi after they ended their pursuit of Anelka - who has joined Manchester City for £13m - Laurent has divided loyalties as he is a good friend of both.

"I wouldn't say Fredi is better than Anelka," says Laurent, "but he is different and I think he deserves more.

"He had groin problems and things like that and maybe that is the reason why he didn't get a place in the French squad."

Looking back on his season, in which he started in wins over Newcastle, Southampton, and Chelsea, as well as the home defeat to Fulham and the away loss at Everton, he says: "All the games for me were a good souvenir because I didn't play a lot. We lost 5-0 at Everton and maybe it was thought we weren't defensive enough, so that is why I didn't play away from home a lot - and that is my disappointment."