Pards Protests Against Hogan Call-up

HOGAN Ephraim has been called up to the England Under-17 squad for the European Under-17 Championships in Italy.

However, with the 17-year-old forward forcing his way into Alan Pardew's first-team plans of late the Hammers boss is reluctant to release the highly-rated player.

"Hogan is a promising player who has done very well for the Reserves in recent weeks," said Pards. "It's an excellent achievement for him to be called into the England Under-17s, but this is a really important time for the Club and we want Hogan to be involved with the first-team squad.

"If it was an Under-21 international the situation would be different, but I don't believe the competition warrants him going away, especially when you consider the position we are in fighting to get into the Play-offs.

"I would hope that the FA will show tolerance to our situation. I've voiced my concerns to them, but they maintain that they will enforce UEFA rules, which I find bewildering.

"We want Hogan to be involved with the squad over these last two games and hopefully also in the Play-offs."