Matthew Upson is predicting Valon Behrami will prove a success with West Ham United as the team prepare for another stiff pre-season test against Southampton on Friday night.
The England defender got his first glimpse of the Swiss international right-back's pedigree during Tuesday night's 2-0 win at Peterborough United. Upson and Behrami could line up again in the back four along with Anton Ferdinand and Lucas Neill, with the latter possibly set to get another run-out at left-back as George McCartney gets closer to his own return. Upson himself is just back after missing the final four games of last season with his muscle injury but is coming along well.
The arrival of Behrami signals a bright future. "He was very good [against Peterborough]," Upson said. "Valon has come in from Italy. He has done a lot of tactical work in training and in the game so he knows how to keep a line and position himself. It is good that Lucas is able to push across to the left and do well. With George not involved at the moment, we may need to call upon him to do a job there so it is nice to get used to that pattern in the back four."
The 29-year-old had previously got 75 minutes last weekend in a 3-0 win for a West Ham United XI at Thurrock and, having completed his first match in midweek, said there is much more to come - hopefully against the Saints at St Mary's this evening. "I'm feeling good. It is nice to get 90 minutes under my belt. I feel like I got better as the game went on which is quite positive so I can take a lot out of it.
"I just need that real sharpness and speed of movement back in my legs which by playing games and intensive training sessions I will get. Hopefully I will be coming back into my own just before the Villarreal game right before the new season." That match against the Spanish giants is on Saturday week and it will mark just seven days until the big kick-of against Wigan Athletic.
"The season is coming up fast. Villarreal and Wigan will be two big games in their own right, two different games, but I just can't wait for the season to start. Overall we were relatively comfortable against Peterborough and if our final ball or finishing was a bit sharper we could have got a couple more. We are getting stronger."