No Choice

Tony Gale says the impending sale of Michael Carrick was inevitable - and feels, in the circumstances, it will benefit all concerned.

"It is always a difficult one when you are trying to get back up into the Premiership and you are seeing what monies are available," he says.

"I am not sure where he is going to go but if there is upwards of £3m coming in it is a question of how much the banks will let you spend.

"I am sure Alan will be getting the begging bowl out but it is a case of 'will the banks enable the club to spend it?'

"As soon as we lost the playoff game I thought the writing was on the wall, with him only having a year left on his contract.

"If indeed Arsenal had been in for him, as has been reported, I think you could have seen him as an England regular, and the best of all our players that left - and I include Rio and Frank in that.

"I think he is that good, and being around world class players like Vieira, Henry, and Pires would show him what you need to get to the very top.

"He undoubtedly has the ability to go an extra gear; it is sad we are going to lose him but there was no other way round it with him being on Premiership wages and only a year to run on his contract.

"He is the last of the boys to go and got on with it for a season in the first division - so I hope West Ham fans give him a good reception when he comes back.

"I think the crowd got on his back a bit because of the way he plays his football; sometimes I can see what they mean - Rio played a little bit like that, and I played a little bit like that myself.

"They think that you are not putting it all in - but you are the type of player that maybe has a bit more time on the ball than others have; Michael definitely has the class to go up a gear and he could be a huge star."