Hammers pair thrilled by Wembley debut

West Ham United's Nigel Reo-Coker and Anton Ferdinand made history on Saturday as they played in the first game at the new Wembley stadium.

The pair represented England under-21s in a thrilling 3-3 draw against Italy and Nigel had the honour of leading the side out onto the lush new pitch.

"I enjoyed the whole day from start to finish," he said. "It was an extreme honour and a privilege to be part of such a historic day.

"Walking out on the pitch I was so overwhelmed, I can't even find words to describe it. I had so many family and friends there, it made the moment that much more proud.

"There was a crowd of around 60, 000 there and the atmosphere was electric, I can only imagine what it would be like at full capacity.

"Not many people can say they've made history and for all of us to have done that was a real honour."

With the European under-21 Championships on the horizon this summer, Nigel admitted that the goal-filled friendly had been ideal preparation for the tournament.

"Italy are a really good side," he said. "We were expecting a tough game and that's what we got. They will definitely be a side to watch out for in the tournament this summer.

"As a match it was ideal preparation. It was a good experience as the manager tried different things and overall he was pleased with the team's performance."

Hammers defender Anton had already enjoyed an unusual debut at the old Wembley as a youngster - appearing as an extra in the film Mike Bassett: England Manager.

"I never thought I'd actually get to play at the new Wembley," he admitted. "I remember watching Rio play there for England but I never imagined I'd be part of an England side playing the first match at the new Wembley.

"It really is state-of-the-art," Anton added. "The facilities are amazing. No expense has been spared to make it one of the best stadiums in the world and that's why it took a little longer than expected to build."

Look out for the full interview with Anton and Nigel in a forthcoming matchday programme.