Green still the No1

Robert Green will be ready for action this week after a welcome few days off along with the rest of his West Ham United team-mates.

The squad face another major test this Saturday when Hull City arrive at the Boleyn Ground but Green is feeling the benefit of an upturn in form. He was at his best in the 2-0 defeat of Birmingham City last week while he had kept clean sheets in two of the four previous league matches since the turn of the year.


"I am happy in my game," he said. "I had a look at myself about a month ago and changed a couple of things. A couple of things I felt I needed to improve and I feel the results of that and feel I am better again for it.

"Where I have put the changes have taken a bit of time to take shape, but I am more than happy at West Ham."

One of the inspirations for Green has come from an unlikely source. The keen cricket fan has been looking to another sport for some pointers. "It is all about details," he said. "It is easy to get complacent, when you play at this level and think you are OK doing what you are doing - but you can't improve without looking at yourself and your game and making changes when needed - trying new things.

"I listened to Phil Taylor after he had won his umpteenth darts title and he said 'you know what, you have to try 100-odd things to get that extra per cent and not all of it may work but one thing could make a small improvement'.

"Here is someone who is at the very top of his sport. It might not be the most energetic sport in the world but he is still trying everything to improve himself to get an edge over people even though he has won about 15 world titles.

"If I can't do it - that is my fault - you have got to take a little look at yourself and one or two things that you could be better at and do something about it. Mentally as well, if you go about certain things a bit differently, it can help you."

Back to the task in hand and Green is only thinking about the immediate challenge of preserving the club's top-flight status - he was relegated with Norwich City back in 2005/06 - and hopes that will then have a knock-on impact on his international ambitions in South Africa this summer.

"If I can carry on improving then hopefully at the end of the season, we will see West Ham having moved up the league, not been relegated and hopefully then be involved in the [FIFA] World Cup for England at the end of the campaign.

He believed Gianfranco Zola would be a major factor in realising his goals and spoke of the manager's positive impact. "Mister is a wonderful man, very affable and he has got you wrapped around your finger before he even starts talking. You are desperately keen to do well for him and for him to do well.

"His way with the players is really good, he can get a lot out of players, if he thinks he can get more, he will do so and work on it with that player for the player himself and the team - Coley is an example, he has been incredible.

"Mister has that personable nature about him as well. He gets the best out of people and is always encouraging - he has got that smile on his face and he makes you want to work with and for him."