Upson on the up

Matthew Upson is hoping to feature for England again in Belarus tonight - and use the performance as a springboard to a place at the 2010 World Cup.

Upson started the 5-1 win over Kazakhstan at Wembley on Saturday and is favourite to again partner captain Rio Ferdinand in central defence following John Terry's withdrawal through injury. Robert Green, meanwhile, also missed out on the trip to Minsk because of a sore knee but is expected to be fit for the weekend game at Hull City.

"My goal is to play in the World Cup for England, that's my target," he said. "You do have to visualise it, you have to picture it. Most great things you do, you'll have pictured it before you've done it. So you'll start at the end, which is achieving it, and work backwards, on how do I get there? There's loads of factors involved, ups and downs and mishaps, positive things; it's a process."

Although Ferdinand and Terry have been Fabio Capello's first-choice pairing so far this season, the West Ham United No15 believes that he can force his way into the starting XI. "I don't think being the captain or vice-captain automatically means you are going to be picked," Upson said. "Things change very quickly in football, be it injury or loss of form. Whatever it is, I have to make sure I'm ready.

"Previously when I joined up with the squad, maybe I didn't believe I deserved to be here. I think that only ends up in one way, with poor performances. Now I fully believe I deserve to be here and am capable of stepping in and doing a good job. I've been practicing my mental approach for the last three or four years. It is something I've worked really hard on and it is something that has benefited me more than anything else."