Carlton Cole has revealed that England head coach Fabio Capello has told him to get nasty.
Capello, who handed Cole his first full England caps in the recent friendly internationals against Spain and Slovakia, telephoned Hammers manager Gianfranco Zola to pass on advice to the West Ham United striker.
The message to Cole was simple - to shrug off his 'Nice Guy' image and show more aggression inside the opposition penalty area.
The 25-year-old said he intends to take his new-found ruthless streak into Sunday's Barclays Premier League finale against Middlesbrough.
"I have been told that I am too nice," said Cole. "I would say as a person I am too nice a guy, I am not selfish guy. That is the way I was seen on the pitch as well. But now I have got to be a bit more selfish on the pitch and more of a nutter.
"To do that, you just train yourself to be aggressive at the right times and channel your aggression in the right places."
Should he turn that aggression into goals against relegation-threatened Boro, Cole hopes to be included in Capello's squad when it is named on Sunday for next month's 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Andorra.
"Those games are a massive opportunity for me and if I keep progressing and learning the game, Fabio has told me and Gianfranco Zola that he wants me to work on a few things as he can see me as a great threat in the box, outmuscling defenders, using my physical presence and being a bit clever with it. There is a lot to go on there. I need to get on the right track and I know what I need to do to improve.
"Fabio has given a phone call to the manager and if you ask him, he knows what I need to do. We will keep working on that in training and that will make me a better player.
"I was chuffed that he had called as it shows that he has shown an interest in me and it shows that he thinks I can improve. When you get to that level you are supposed to be the finished article but I am far away, well not far away, but I am trying to progress to that and be as good as I can be.
"If he doesn't think I can progress, then he would not be telling Franco I need to work on certain stuff. That is encouraging for a player to think I can be a big hit if he wants me to do what he wants me to do."
When asked exactly what Capello has instructed him to work on, Cole was keeping his cards close to his chest. However, the striker did reveal that he would be looking to pull the trigger earlier when he found himself in shooting positions.
"I am not going to tell you that! That is for you to see on the field! I am doing certain things. I nearly did it on Saturday at Everton if you want a little inkling. I turned in the box and tried to get a shot in quickly but my second touch let me down a little bit.
"Those are the things that he wants me to do to, use my muscle, have quick feet in the box and strike at goal quicker and not dwell on it."
Turning to Sunday's opponents, who will be relegated unless they win at the Boleyn Ground and results go their way elsewhere, Cole admitted his focus had to be on the Hammers cause.
"We need to think about us. We almost got relegated two years ago and it was daunting and I have been in that position. I am feel sorry that they are in that position but we need to get on as professionals and get the job done. Obviously we want to win this game.
"They need the points but we need to finish on a high. What has happened to them doesn't really concern me. I want to get a couple of goals and to end the season on a high. It might sound selfish but it's not really my problem."