Carl's Welsh Confidence

AS part of the mini-Wales that has grown up in the East End, midfielder Carl Fletcher admits that there has been plenty of banter flying around in the build-up to England's clash with Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

"There's a bit more going around than usual," he laughed, "if that's possible here! We have started up another Wales here, we've taken over the place really!

"There's been loads of jokes and stuff going on, but we're just looking to get one over on them and come back to training and give out the stick big time to the English lads!"

Looking to the match, where he may well start in midfield, Carl said: "We're all looking forward to it, the build up to the game has really begun now , so you get into all that and then you're just waiting to get on the pitch and play."

"It should be a great match, it will be very tense but with a fantastic atmosphere at the Millennium Stadium and it's going to be a very tough match for us.

"I know everyone involved is looking forward to it and I hope to be playing of course.

"You want to be playing for your country in any match, but games against England are extra special.

"We're confident, because at the end of the day, it is 11 against 11 and you have to just go out there and do your best, that's all you can do.

"We've had a few decent performances of late and we've just got to push on from there. Everyone is working hard for each other, very much a team thing and if you give 100 per cent then you are half way there."

And for Carl, who has yet to apper in the Premier League for the Hammers, he is looking forward to getting some match action under his belt.

"My first job as a footballer, is to do well for West Ham United,  but I haven't played much lately so this will help in keeping my match fitness up.

"It's a good opportunity to get some game time, which will also benefit me for when I get back to Chadwell Heath and ensure I'm ready and fit to play when selected."

Carl is certainly proud of the chance to represent his country and is desperate to win his nineth cap at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

The former Bournemouth captain said: "You want to play with the best and alongside the best, so playing in the top league and then for your country, gives you that chance. I'm no different from any other footballer in that respect."

"There's been a lot of stuff lately about friendlies not meaning anything to players and some people saying they are always played at the wrong time and they're a burden, with the season just starting and all that.

"It's always a hectic few weeks when a new season starts and for some players, going on international duty is a break from the norm, where they have a job to do for their country but also get some extra match fitness that will benefit them when they return to their clubs.

"These are World Cup qualifiers and you can't call them burdens, especially playing teams like England, it doesn't come much bigger. Every players knows how important these game are.

"If you have been playing the last few weeks for your club, or even if you haven't, being involved in these games gives you another boost to your confidence.

"If I can get some good performances in while I'm away with Wales, I can hopefully bring that back with me to West Ham."