Welcome to Nigel Reo-Coker's latest entry on whufc.com, as the Hammers skipper presents his exclusive online diary...
Sunday, February 26
After Anton and I had returned from our little break, we both met up with the England under-21 squad for the friendly against Norway on Tuesday. The meet was at a nice hotel near Reading at 9.00pm and we then had an evening meal with the rest of the squad half an hour later. The coach Peter Taylor greeted everyone, before we headed off to our rooms - you get your own room on England duty - for a good night's sleep ahead of training tomorrow.
Monday, February 27
When you go away with England, the schedule is pinned up on a board and it runs like clockwork. This morning, we got a wake-up call from the doctor at 8.45am, had breakfast at nine and then left for training at 10. We started training at 10.15am, and that was just a fairly light session - a bit of finishing, some team-play and a practice match. After lunch back at the hotel, we had time of our own in the afternoon, which was just spent relaxing and watching some TV, before meeting up for the evening meal and then heading off to bed. It doesn't sound too exciting but, with just a couple of days together before the game, it's just a case of spending time together and focusing completely on the match. There are never any distractions for us, and it's just a fantastic honour to be asked to represent your country.
Tuesday, February 28
The morning schedule followed much the same schedule as the previous day - a wake-up call at 8.45am, breakfast at nine and then a very light training session. With the game to be played in the evening, it was literally a case of walking through some set-pieces, finalising the team-plays and finding out the team. Having captained the team recently I was obviously hoping to be named, but you never take anything for granted when playing for England, and it's still a big buzz to hear your name read out when the starting line-up is announced. Anton and I were both included in the side and, after pre-match at 4.30pm, the team bus left at 5.40pm for the Madejski stadium.
The game itself was a success, we played really well and won 3-1 in what was our last friendly before the qualifiers for the European Championships begin. I only played the first half, as Peter Taylor wanted to give everyone a chance and we there were two or three other central midfielders in the squad.
After half-time, it was nice to see Anton take over from me as captain, he's always wanted to be the skipper! Seriously, he deserved it, because he has matured so much on the pitch this season and has become a real leader at the back for club and country. He should also have scored his first goal for the under-21s against Norway, when he hit the post with a volley from just a few yards out. Afterwards, the only thing I heard him say was: 'How did I miss that?' We were all asking the same thing!
After the game, I went meet my family and friends who were at the game, and the FA then provided a car to take me back home.
Wednesday, March 1
After getting home late last night from the game last night, I spent the whole day relaxing at home. I was pretty tired and, with only a couple of days before our next Premiership match, I needed to get plenty of rest before returning to training tomorrow. In the evening, I watched the senior England game on TV. It was good to see the team come from behind again and win late on but, from a West Ham point of view, I was a bit sad for Paul Konchesky that he wasn't involved. He has been playing at such a high level for us all season and, in my opinion, has been the most consistent English left-back in the Premiership recently. Obviously it wasn't nice to see Wayne Bridge suffer an injury, but that could turn out to be a bit of divine intervention for Konch, and I really hope that Sven-Goran Eriksson gives him another chance, because he deserves to go to the World Cup this summer on the back of his performances for us this year.
Thursday, March 2
Back to Chadwell Heath after a week away from the Club and, with several of the other lads away on international duty, too, it was nice to get back together and catch up on what we'd all been up to. Training consisted of a light session and I then did some power work on my own. After lunch I enjoyed my regular weekly visit to my aunt's at Elephant and Castle, before heading home for more rest and relaxation ahead of what will be a very tough game against Everton.
I'd like to finish this week's diary by urging all our female supporters to go out an buy a copy of Reveal magazine - apparently it contains a competition to win a date with none other than Anton Ferdinand! Honestly, one lucky lady is going to be in for the time of her life!
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