Upson training hard

Matthew Upson was back out on the training pitch on Tuesday bidding to become the first Hammers defender to play for England at the World Cup since 1986.

Having rested at the weekend with a virus, Upson returned to action with a solid 45-minute display in the 3-1 warm-up win against South African club side Platinum Stars. Upson took part in a light session the morning after (pictured) before joining his squad-mates, including Robert Green, for an afternoon on safari.

With four days to go until the opener against the United States, Upson is out to emulate Alvin Martin, who shone 24 years ago in a 3-0 last-16 defeat of Paraguay in Mexico. It would appear he is competing with Ledley King - who stayed in the gym on Tuesday to nurse his troublesome knee - for the right to partner John Terry this weekend, and achieve a lifelong dream.

Recalling his own experience of the World Cup, Martin said the Paraguay game - when Gary Lineker scored twice and Peter Beardsley also netted - was something he would remember forever. However, he was inexplicably dropped for the ill-fated meeting with Diego Maradona's Argentina in the quarter-finals.

Martin said: "The atmosphere was contagious and against tricky opponents we took the game by the scruff of the neck. Personally, I was pleased with my own performance. I knew what I wanted to do and I did it."

Rio Ferdinand went to the 1998 finals as a West Ham player but did not feature in any of the Three Lions' four games.