Peter's Pride

Peter Grant says the interest being shown in Michael Carrick reflects well, once again, on West Ham's Academy system.

With several clubs around the country clamouring for his signature, and Arsenal having shown more than a passing interest, Peter says:

"The fact that a club like Arsenal were interested means you have got to take great credit as a club that he has come through the ranks, and been coached so well, they have come for your player.

"I would be delighted for him because he is a lovely boy and a fantastic player.

"But it gives someone else an opportunity, and I thought the two central midfield players did very well on Saturday. "It was probably the first time they had played together and they did the job."

Peter says, much as he admires Michael, there is plenty of talent elsewhere to compensate.

"Michael is obviously a big hole to fill with his quality but the other boys have got different qualities," he insists.

"We have players like Sergei Rebrov, Teddy Sheringham, Marlon Harewood, Bobby Zamora, and Mattie Etherington to be our creative ones.

"It doesn't have to be the central midfield areas, it can come from the so-called wide area.

"That said, we don't stick them out there and say be a winger, we put them there so they can go and play - we try to get all our good footballers out on the pitch."

Peter envisages a day when West Ham do not have to sell if they don't want to, and adds:

"The only way you can do that is to get back in the Premiership, and that is what we are aiming to do - it is the bottom line.

"If we had won at the Millennium stadium we would not be getting rid of Michael Carrick; that is not down to the chairman or the board or anything like that - it is down to he fact that we didn't win the game.

"They have put a lot of money into the club and fair play to them; the only way they are going to get some of it back and so we can get wages for other good players is to go up.

"We have to take that responsibility - and there is no use hiding away from that."