Les: I Hope Jermain Stays

Les Ferdinand will have talks with West Ham about staying beyond his original short term contract - and holds out the hope that he will be partnering Jermain Defoe in the first division next season.

Jermain has the utmost respect for 'Sir' Les - both on and off the field - and the elder statesman had some benign advice for him on Tuesday following the announcement of his transfer request.

"Unfortunately for Jermain, who is still very young, I think he has been badly advised - hopefully it will be resolved sooner or later," says Les.

"I spoke to him yesterday when all the lads got together for a last day briefing, and he said his agents advised him, wrote the letter and all that stuff, and it is unfortunate because he didn't really realise the impact of what he was doing.

"He was pretty sorry about it yesterday, but, like I say, he is still young and you get influenced by people or things that you shouldn't do.

"But it is a learning curve for him. The unfortunate thing is, at that age, with football first and foremost on his mind, you let other people get on with the things around you - and hope that they do the right things.

"Sadly for him yesterday what was done wasn't the right thing, and, before he realised, it was done and the mistake was made."

Les is not predicting a massive break up of the squad, and adds: "The fans want the good players to stay and as fans you want the good players to stay. I think it is a process where the club have to analyse, having lost a lot of money dropping out of the Premiership, the best way of getting back up into it - because that is first and foremost.

"They have to take whatever necessary measures are needed to do that."

Les says that, though other players expressed their views as well, there was no question, as has been inferred, of a bad scene at he training ground or players snubbing Jermain.

"We are all part of this team and things like this have happened to each and every one of us along the way, so we know what it is all about," he says.

"It wasn't about anyone cold-shouldering him but unfortunately the tabloids will make a lot more out of it and get old players to give their views on it - sometimes it can seem a lot worse than it actually is."

And does Les think Jermain will reconsider the request altogether?

"He may well do. Sometimes it is the influence of other people that make you make decisions and see things in a different way - but I think in the cold light of day when he sits down and analyses it for himself he may come up with the right decision," is Les' considered verdict.

"A lot of the lads spoke to him and inevitably Jermain will make a decision that is right for his career, whether that means going or staying.

"We would all love him to stay and hopefully he will sit down, analyse everything, and make the right decision."

As for his own future, he adds: "We are hoping to try and sort something out and, as I said to you the other day, I am not going to finish my career on getting relegated - so I'd like to be involved with the team next season.

"It is still early days and we will have to sit down and have a chat."

He does not rue leaving Spurs for West Ham in January, and insists: "I am still happy. When I came to West Ham I knew what I was coming in to, but obviously I was hoping to have a bigger influence and that we would be able to stay in the Premier League.

"It wasn't to be, but I am glad I made the move. The only regret is obviously going down but that is nothing to do with the move from Tottenham, it is just the fact that enough wasn't done at West Ham.

And he could he go even beyond next season?

"You're testing me here," he smiles. "You take each year as it comes and if I was to play next year that would definitely be the last one!"

Meanwhile, Joe Cole has been called up to the full England squad for the summer matches against South Africa, Serbia & Montenegro and Slovakia, following the withdrawl of Kieron Dyer through injury.