Alvin backs Matt

Former West Ham United and England defender Alvin Martin is in no doubt Matthew Upson will "do everyone proud" when he makes his FIFA World Cup bow on Wednesday against Slovenia.

The club captain is set to start for his country in the must-win afternoon fixture in Port Elizabeth after England boss Fabio Capello stated in his press briefing that he would pick 31-year-old Upson to play alongside John Terry at the heart of the England defence. The pair actually played alongside each other in the 2-1 friendly defeat of the Slovenians at Wembley last September.

The No15 moved in line for his 20th cap for his country ahead of Tottenham Hotspur's Michael Dawson, with Ledley King injured and Jamie Carragher suspended. For Martin, who was the last Hammers defender to feature for the Three Lions in a World Cup tie in 1986, it was the right choice.

"It is fantastic for Matthew," he told "I am well chuffed for him. Matthew is left-footed, has the ability to deal with pace and will slot in well alongside Terry.

"From the feedback I have had out here [in South Africa], it has been all positive about Matthew and I am sure he will go out there and do a good job for his country.

"He has experience and won't be daunted by having to come in like this having not yet played in the tournament and with the emphasis on it being such a crucial match for England.

"It is often more difficult to be in and out of a team especially at this level, then playing near-on every game, but this won't phase Matthew at all. I certainly have no doubts that he can do well and won't let us down."

Martin is at the finals doing commentary work for talkSPORT and lending his considerable experience to covering the matches for the radio broadcaster as well as enjoying a tournament he feels is "getting going now".

Speaking about his own experience playing in a World Cup finals when he memorably shone in a 3-0 second-round defeat of Paraguay in the Mexico finals 24 years ago, he said: "It is great and something you never ever forget. I am still talking and remembering it all now and it is part of the reason I am getting to work out here as well, to be able to talk about it.

"I know how special it is, to be able to pull on the shirt for your country in the World Cup."

Martin also had a note of reassurance for Hammers keeper Robert Green and said he believed the 30-year-old shot-stopper would not be affected long term by the mistake against the United States that cost him his place in last Friday's second Group C match against Algeria. He said he would emerge even stronger for the experience.

"For Robert, it was terrible when it happened. He made a mistake but he is a very good goalkeeper still and you can't take that away from him over one mistake. He didn't let anyone down, he made a mistake.

"The best thing was that he came out afterwards, straight away, and said it was a mistake. He spoke to the press and dealt with it all in the best way possible. I know from being out here that all of that went down very well with everyone here.

"He has then just got on with working hard in training. The first thought from pretty much everyone here when it happened, was sympathy for him and his family.

"Although it was something he wouldn't have wanted to experience, he is a strong character and lad and I don't think his confidence long-term will be affected.

"When he returns for the new season for West Ham, he will be stronger for it. Both he and Matthew can come back stronger and ahead in fitness having being playing and training like this in the summer and that can only be good for West Ham."