Pards Praise For Magic Matty

ALAN Pardew has praised the performances of winger Matty Etherington in West Ham United's recent run of impressive away form, which saw Hammers take six points from three trips to Birmingham, Blackburn and Everton.

Pards admitted that the 24-year-old former Spurs player had started the season slowly by his own high standards. But Matty has certainly come to the fore of late, showing the type of form that won the flying winger the Hammer of the Year award in his first season with the Club.

"Matty did make a slow start this season, but the last three games he's been right up there in our top three players," said Alan. "At the start of the season I think he got a bit frustrated, because we were winning games and getting headlines but he was in the background a little bit.

"He's had to look into himself, challenge himself to up his level and really produce the type of performances we've seen from him of late.

"If he keeps at this level who knows how could he could be. He's only a young boy, but if the last three performances are anything to go by and considering the difficulties England have on the left side Matt has to be considered.

"Matt's the type of person who is a thinker about his game, and perhaps a worrier. If anything sometimes his biggest problem is that he is worrying about his performance too much.

"But he's in a confident place right now, he's in good form and when he's like that Matt is very difficult to stop.

"To be honest whenever I've seen him play he is always a test for the full-back. No one always has great games, but Matt is always asking questions of the full-back and that's what you want."

Just as Pards has championed the causes of Paul Konchesky and Matty for international recognition, Pards admits that he is constantly telling his players to set their sights high - both personally and for the team.

"I tell all my players to set themselves goals that some people might think are unachievable," he explained, "and then just see where it takes you.

"That's certainly stood us in good stead so far. I'll tell all my players, don't give up hope of going to the World Cup. Not even Teddy!

"Our aim is never to look below. We don't look at where we'll fall to in the table if we lose, we look at where we could be if we win.

"That proved itself at Everton the other night, because what better incentive than the chance of going seventh in the League.

"Again this weekend we'll look at the League table and see how many places we can jump with a good result against Newcastle, because that's the kind of positive outlook we adopt as a squad."