Les' Surprise

Les Ferdinand admits he was surprised that Jermain Defoe, Joe Cole, and Trevor Sinclair weren't called up for the full England squad.

"It is great to see all the lads in the U21s though I think a lot of us were thinking Jermain had the chance of a full call-up - but I read that they are trying to hold him back a little bit longer."

And amazement about Joe not getting the call-up?

"I was because he was in the last one; I know he didn't feature that much but he has been playing well and I think he has been fantastic for us in the last few games, as has Trevor Sinclair.

"I was quite surprised he didn't get another mention - but all they can do is the work they are doing and I am sure by the end of the season they will be back in that squad."

As for the domestic battle, he adds:

"It is still a gap but for a long time I have said all we can do is keep continuing to win our games - we have still got Bolton to play and it is still in our hands."

Les says injury problems which forced him off at half time against Sunderland will not rule him out at Southampton, and he adds:

"It was good to have Fredi on the bench the other day; I have been playing the last couple of games with this light knock I took but I didn't have to struggle any longer because Fredi came on and did the business.

"I knew it was touch and go and all I needed was to get another bang on it, and true to form I did get one.

"It became sore, I didn't want to take any more chances, and we had fresh legs in Fredi so the manager said 'let's make a change'.

"There will be no problems come Southampton; I will have a full week of treatment and come Saturday against Southampton I will be raring to go."

Les says he loves playing alongside Jermain Defoe and adds:

"We seem to have forged a good little partnership; I enjoy working with him and I think he is enjoying working with me.

"Fortunately for us winning is breeding confidence and it is nice to get a few wins back to back.

"And we must mention the defenders who have kept three clean sheets - and long may that continue."