Trevor On Internationals

Trevor Brooking feels that West Ham's relegation to division one should not adversely affect the England players' international ambitions - as long as the side start the 2003-04 campaign well.

West Ham have a trio of players - Joe Cole, David James, and Trevor Sinclair - on England duty for the games with South Africa (May 22 in Durban), Serbia & Montenegro (June 3 at Leicester City) and Slovakia (June 11 at Middlesbrough) and Trevor says of their international futures: "There is speculation but Sven spoke a little bit when the squad was announced at his press conference, saying he would have to see how things develop and being cautious in his reply, which you can understand.

"We have obviously got to see what the reaction of the players is.

"When I was down there for three seasons with West Ham it didn't affect me getting selected for England and Ron Greenwood, the ex-West Ham manager, was in charge so I could speak to him pretty openly.

"If we get off to a good start and towards a challenging position, and the scenario happens when we are only going to be down for one season, the confidence and belief would be there with the players and there wouldn't be any problem making the transition.

"What most managers want in their charge is a confident player because that would transmit itself whichever level they are playing on.

"If they have got the ability to play at international level they will be full of themselves prior to those games, so you would like to think it wouldn't make a difference.

"But that is easy for me to say sitting where I am, so it is a case of talking to the players and seeing what we can do, because the fact is we want to give ourselves the best chance of bouncing back next season - and not selling everyone has to be the answer.

"There were some good performances by the three lads that have been selected and there were some good results, so they have to prove their worth through this spell.

"Then it is a case of seeing how it would impact them being in Division One and you'd like to think Sven would still select the players if we are doing well.

"But it is early days for that sort of discussion to happen and the main thing is that the three lads are in and the fact we got relegated did not have an adverse effect on that.

"I am sure Sven, who sees a lot of games at Upton Park, was frustrated that we just missed out and didn't stay up because we looked a Premiership side in those couple of months.

"It is a case now, from our point of view, of damage limitation, and from Sven's point of view he has got to do his job.

"We have got to try and keep the nucleus of players we want and persuade players to give us a chance. There is always the transfer window in January which, if we are doing well, wouldn't be necessary but if we are doing badly there is the option to move on then.

"It is a difficult one for everyone until you reflect and see what happens in the next few weeks."

As for Joe's promotion from the under-21s, Trevor adds: "He is 21 and has played a lot of games in the under-21 squad. You could understand David Platt wanting him there if he was not going to be used at senior level, but Joe, having sampled being out with the World Cup squad without getting the chance that he wanted, is keen to get the opportunity again."

Joe completed his fifth season as a senior professional in the season just gone, playing more games than in any previous season, and he won Hammer of the year - not to mention 99 tackles!

"It was a difficult first half of the season because we weren't getting the results and his confidence would have been affected a bit," says Trevor.

"But getting the captaincy and giving everyone that belief and confidence in the last three months with the results we got has helped him force his way back in and we all wish him well."