Fearless Frank

Gianfranco Zola has urged Frank Nouble to play without fear against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.

The 18-year-old striker has caught the eye after starting West Ham United's last three matches against Arsenal, Aston Villa and Portsmouth, imposing his strength and pace against experienced, international defenders.

In an exclusive interview with Saturday's official matchday programme, Nouble revealed that his positive approach was the result of working closely with the manager.

With Zola's words of encouragement ringing in his ears, the England Under-19 man is chomping at the bit to test Blackburn's Christopher Samba and Ryan Nelsen this weekend.

"I've done a lot of one-on-one sessions with the manager, which is good," said Nouble. "When the manager shows an interest in you, you always feel positive. I've also been watching videos with him after training of myself and top players like Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres. He played in my position and is a legend and a great player, and I love having people like him around me.

"When the manager is talking to me personally, he talks about me concentrating on what I can improve on. If there is stuff that I can work on in training and then apply them in a game, then the manager wants me to do that - technical aspects, heading and stuff like that. You've got to play without fear and want to try to do things."

In a revealing and entertaining article, Nouble also talks about his football upbringing at Chelsea, his family's Ivorian heritage, his penchant for video games and his eagerness to pass his driving test.

Saturday's matchday programme also includes exclusive columns from West Ham United's new chairmen, David Sullivan and David Gold.

Elsewhere, Valon Behrami is Talking Football, Manuel da Costa names his Dream Team, and U18 defender Callum McNaughton is Learning His Trade.

Supporters can also catch up with ex-Hammers striker John Hartson, former West Ham and Blackburn winger Marc Keller and promising Switzerland U19 defender Fabio Daprela.

To read all of the above and much, much more, purchase your copy of the official matchday programme, priced at £3.50, in and around the Boleyn Ground on Saturday.

Alternatively, order your copy online here.