Steve - Best To Come

Tony Gale is intrigued by the battle for the number one spot between the sticks - and reckons the best is yet to come from Steve Bywater.

"It is very healthy competition; James Walker has plenty of experience and he is just sitting there in the wings," he says.

"But Stephen hasn't done anything wrong yet and he is one of the best young goalkeepers that is around."

Steve has been unfazed about taking over from then-England number one goalie David James when he left Upton Park and Tony adds:

"When you look at the English talent that is available he came in just after Jamo and has made the first team place his own."

Tony feels Steve's extended run in the side has paid dividends and explains:

"The major thing for keepers is that you have to have confidence in yourself; the best keepers I have played with and against have had that.

"An old West Ham great, Phil Parkes, had that and it exudes confidence in everyone else, particularly the back four.

"Steve will get better, that is for sure, because it is certainly one of those positions where you do improve with age and so far, so good for him."