Matthew Upson has spoken of his pride at wearing the No6 shirt at West Ham United.
With next Sunday marking 15 years to the day that club legend Bobby Moore passed away, Upson has revealed what it means to him to have the shirt. "It's a big honour," he told the matchday programme. "Sometimes I do sit at home and think about it and I get a little buzz because it's a big honour. I didn't actually specifically ask for it. I was given it and it's a real honour to wear that shirt."
While Upson is understandably looking to play for England against France in Paris next month, the defender is first and foremost committed to giving his all at the Boleyn Ground. Having played every minute of this season's league campaign after the "dreadful" events of last year when injury cost him the chance to help in the fight for survival, Upson said: "It's only just beginning at West Ham. I want to give some very good years in my career to West Ham and I feel I am coming into my prime."
He also sees plenty of competition coming up through the ranks with the likes of England youth internationals Jordan Spence and James Tomkins set to stake a claim in future. "Tomka's showed some real talent and understanding of the position. Jordan looks very good too. He's trained with us a few times and he looks a really good athlete. He's got a good athletic build. There are some good young prospects coming through."
His current partner Anton Ferdinand is still only 22 himself and, having played alongside his brother Rio for England earlier this month, Upson can see that his young colleague has a bright future ahead. "They are quite different. Rio is a more polished version at the moment his stature, career and experience is at a greater level but Anton has some every good aspects and if he keeps working and improving I am sure that he will do very well."
With the team not playing this weekend ahead of the trip to Fulham, fittingly a club also served by the legendary Moore, next Saturday, Upson has relished the chance of an extended break. "It has been a crazy couple of weeks. I have had six games in two weeks, so the body and mind could do with a rest." That said, he is not going to stop putting in the work on the practice pitches - with a refreshing philosophy about life at the training ground.
"Never waste a day," he said. "Turn up to work every morning and improve at something, even if it's learning how to do something really miniscule, it doesn't matter. Take something out of the day which has made you a better player. If you do that throughout your career, you can only get better."