Nigel: Surprise And Delight

Nigel Reo-Coker admits he was taken aback to be made captain against Wolves on Saturday - but delighted.

Nigel became the fourth person to skipper West Ham this season when Teddy Sheringham went to the bench last weekend and he reveals:

"It was a shock to me; I didn't expect to be captain for the game but Alan came to me 10 minutes before kick-off and said I would be captain - and to wear the arm band with pride.

"I hadn't thought about it, but it is a great honour to be captain of a club like West Ham, something that you take great pride in - it was beyond my wildest dreams.

"But it hadn't entered my mind that I would be captain because I thought it would be give to one of the more senior players.

"There have been some illustrious predecessors to the West Ham captaincy and it is something that I will always cherish - for the rest of my life.

"But the main thing was to have a good game for West Ham and to help get the three points."

Not that Nigel is slow in coming forward vocally anyway; his presence in that respect, both on the field of play and in the dressing room, is acknowledged by his team mates.

"I am a great believer in having a great team spirit - if you have that to start off with you will have a very successful season," he says.

"Team spirit is just the start of it and it goes a long way in the long term."

Despite a 100% success rate as Hammers captain, he admits:

"If I must be honest it wasn't a terrific midfield game, one that the midfield controlled that much, it was an all-action end to end game, very open."

Nigel did have a good old battle with Paul Ince, though, and he says:

"I swapped shirts with him at the end of the game and he just said 'well done, keep going' and that I ran the show and deserved it."

Whilst Nigel understands the reasons for the crowd's antipathy to Ince, he says: "Going through all that over the years and still getting on with it is why you have got to admire him, really - despite all the abuse he got and still put in a terrific, mature performance.

"He is a great player, a great guy, and a great role model for young players - he truly is a great man.

"He didn't say anything about the stick and that shows that he is a bigger man because he didn't let it bother him or affect his performance.

"You have to admire that and it is something that I might have to put up with in my career - you can take it is an example of how to handle it."

Nigel feels the win over Wolves after defeat at Forest and a draw at Derby was just the tonic and adds:

"The week's points total wasn't a true reflection of how we played - we deserved more than we got."

Now Nigel is concentrating on England U21 duty after an injury scare and he says:

"I only got there on Wednesday so I will just wait and see what happens."