Zola to honour Carr

Gianfranco Zola is looking forward to "a very special night" when West Ham United take on Tony Carr's Academy All-Stars next Wednesday at the Boleyn Ground.

The highly-regarded Academy Director has been honoured with a Testimonial match and the manager is keen that everyone come along to show their support for a game that could feature the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and Joe Cole. "I wish Tony all the best. He has been very supportive of me and his work has been brilliant at this club for so long.

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"I really hope as many supporters as possible come along to support Tony. He really deserves this match for everything he has done. He has given so much to this club and I am really hoping that a lot of people will turn up. It will be a great night. I know it has been a hard season for the fans but it will be nice to have as many as possible there on Wednesday."

Zola, who revealed he "would be proud" to don his boots and represent West Ham United on the night, added that the two have a strong working relationship. "It has been good to work with Tony Carr. I have players in my team that are important players who come from the Academy. That tells you the good work he has been doing throughout the years and now.

"He is a person that has done very well for this club and his work ethic is very good. It has been a pleasure to work with him this season. He has done a brilliant job not only for West Ham but for the whole nation. So many important and influential players that are with the national team have started here and that tells you what he is all about."

In many ways, the two men have a similar approach, with Zola all about developing talent and giving it full chance to shine - just like Carr, who has been doing it for 37 years. "Working with young players is what I like. The policy we have at this club is ideal because I want that in my team, the chance for young players to come in and do the job. His principles and his work marries with what we are trying to do in the first team."

Scott Parker