Danny's Welsh Glory

HAMMERS defender Danny Gabbidon had every reason to be smiling when he joined up with the Welsh squad for this evening's friendly against Slovenia in Swansea.

Not only had his claret and blue debut been a resounding success with the 3-1 victory over Blackburn on Saturday, but he had won the all-important bragging rights over Welsh team-mate Craig Bellamy, who was part of Mark Hughes' losing Rovers team.

"If Craig had scored I would never have heard the end of it," admitted Danny. "I had a chat with Craig in the tunnel and typically there were a few comments flying around on the pitch, but nothing that you wouldn't expect.

"It was a really competitive game and the atmosphere inside the Stadium was fantastic. It was a brilliant day to make my debut, and I just wanted to concentrate on the game and make sure I did my bit to help West Ham United come out on top.

"If I had got chatting with Bellers I would have lost concenration and I had to make sure that he didn't finish up on the winning team. But we played excellently in the second-half and looked really strong.

"It took us a while to settle down in the first-half, especially because the pace of the game was so fast. But we got into our stride just before half-time and the way we came out for the second-half really seemed to surprise Blackburn.

"I was a bit nervous before the start of the game, but once your out there on the pitch those things are forgotten and you just want to focus on doing your best.

"It was fantastic for the Club to get off to a winning start in the Premiership and there's plenty for us to be positive about going into the Newcastle United game."

For now though, the 25-year-old former West Brom and Cardiff City player is concentraing on winning his 18th cap for Wales in John Toshack's team. And with a host of Welshman involved at Blackburn, Danny's head will be held high in Swansea this week.

"There are quite a few Welsh lads involved at Blackburn," explained Danny. "Mark Hughes was my international manager with Wales so I know him well and there are quite a few Welsh guys in the Blackburn backroom staff.

"It was strange to get Blackburn in the first game because of the connections I have there, and a bit ironic that we beat them on my West Ham debut.

"But I'm delighted that we did. First and foremost it's tremendous for the Club to have taken three points out of our opening game back in the Premier League. It gives the squad a huge boost.

"But also people would have been ribbing me all week if we had lost, so there was no way I could let that happen."