Deano a No9 dream

A round of applause greeted Dean Ashton's closing remarks at the end of a hectic post-game press conference at the MLS All-Star Game in Toronto.

The England striker had been an impressive performer on the pitch. Scoring both the West Ham United goals - even if the second was a bit "lucky" - and linking up well with Carlton Cole, Ashton was a threat all evening. He could have had a hat-trick but for a superb save by Matt Reis in the All-Star goal late in the game. Ashton then turned in an equally impressive display when meeting the media as he spoke of the game and the support at the BMO Field.

Speaking after the 3-2 defeat, Ashton said: "I was quite surprised just how good the support was. It could have been any ground in England. It was that strong and if I was a Toronto player I would love to play in front of that every week. It was great support and surprising." The No9 has given fans plenty to think about on this North American tour with three goals in the two games - although the second on Thursday night had an element of fortune.

"The first goal was a good flick-on from Carlton Cole," Ashton said. "I think he had attracted a few defenders and left me with the space and it was a case of just composing myself and thinking where I wanted to put it. I was pleased with that. The second goal was pretty lucky as I shot at goal and it has hit the guy on the ear and gone in. I will take them whenever."

Wearing the MLS All-Star shirt of Toronto FC's Jim Brennan, his former Norwich City team-mate, Ashton also praised the contribution of England colleague David Beckham and the way he coped with the intense scrutiny. Loud cheers greeted every corner and flashbulbs went off in their hundreds with every free-kick.

"I am sure David is used to that," Ashton said. To most of us his situation seemed a bit surreal but he seems to handle it so well. It is always great to play against great players such as David Beckham but there were other great players out there - Blanco, who has played for Mexico, and American and Canadian internationals. It was a great game to play in and I was honoured to play. I will definitely keep this shirt for a long time."