Stanislas rises to occasion

Junior Stanislas is being tipped to go on and build on his phenomenal full debut for West Ham United - and not just because of his undoubted ability.

The south Londoner has demonstrated his quality throughout the 2008/09 campaign. Not just during his loan at Southend United but as a mainstay of Alex Dyer's resolute reserves, biding his time and showing he had what it takes. It was during a run-out for the second string in a friendly against Chelsea that he proved it was time.


Gianfranco Zola said: "I made my decision about him last week when we played a friendly game against Chelsea with the reserves. They had five senior players in the team and he scored three goals - but it wasn't the three goals, it was the personality and the quality he took on the pitch that convinced me I was going to play him.

"He's a good player. He has qualities, skills and also mental strength. Now it's up to him; he has just played one game so he has to keep composure and keep his feet on the ground. If he does that he has the qualities to become a very important player, but he has to be focused and do things properly."

Zola is not concerned that too much pressure will be placed on the 19-year-old's shoulders, but will be careful to manage him well. "I don't have this worry. He has to learn that he has to handle the situation but I can't pretend he will become a better player if I don't play him. He has to go through this stage and to learn that there are going to be tough games and difficult moments for him."