Steve's Lucky Break

Young Hammers keeper Stephen Bywater goes into England under-21 action against Portugal on Friday evening on the back of a chance meeting with boss David Platt at Goodison Park recently.

Revealing his stroke of luck, he says: "I saw David Platt at the Everton game, I just bumped into him, and he said 'I didn't know you were fit'.

"I'm glad I did bump into him so now I can prove I am fit to him and other people. I have been fit since December, and I am training every day.

"I managed to worm my way into the Directors' box at Goodison Park - but I was with Don Hutchison!

"Chris Kirkland has been injured for a long time and he needs three goalkeepers, and there aren't many my age, so there was no one else, really.

"It gives you a boost to be involved, it is a change of scenery, and it is good to have the other West Ham lads around, though if they weren't there I would still have to do my job.

"I am just happy to be with the lads because I have been out for so long - but I didn't necessarily expect to be playing.

"I wasn't that surprised to be called up though because there are not that many keepers around, are there?"

He is accompanied, for the first time in the under-21s, by Glen Johnson, and Stephen predicts a bright future for him.

"He is a good lad, playing excellently, and he is also a nice person. Nothing is stopping him from doing really well.

"He is a relaxed guy who is confident in his ability and I am chuffed for him - and it does help when you are confident."

As for Joe Cole being with the under-21s rather than the full squad, he adds: "Joe has been doing really well recently, but I don't know much about outfield players!

"But he will do really well and he always gives it his best."