Walker's World Cup

Jimmy Walker has pledged his support for former team-mate Robert Green and given his own view on penalties.

The 36-year-old caught up with whufc.com this week and was keen to back his old mate from his playing days at the Boleyn Ground - especially for the attention he got following his uncharacteristic slip in the 1-1 draw with the United States.

"I was made up for Greeny to be part of the World Cup, he works so hard and deserves this chance," said Walker, who represented West Ham between 2004 and 2009. "It was brilliant he was chosen to play in the first game. To play in the World Cup is a reward for all the hard work.

"It was devastating for him to have what happened to him in the game. But you know, he recovered well, made a great save in the match afterwards and had a strong rest of the match - he made a mistake but who doesn't make a mistake?

"It is just that it led to a goal and was in front of millions of people. He didn't let his country down, it just happened.

"I would have liked to have seen him play again in the next match, get it out of his system. Don't get me wrong, Jamo [David James] has come in and done well and so deserves his chance as well - but it would have been good for Greeny to play again.

Having worked closely alongside Green in his time at West Ham, Walker remembers the steely determination of the Hammers No1 to push himself and do that bit more all the time to be at the top of his game.

"The other lads will tell you, I was never the best for being in the gym for instance," he said with a smile. "Yet, Greeny would be in there, doing extra stuff. I remember one time, a couple of days before we played Arsenal at the Emirates in the 2006/07 season, when we were fighting relegation.

"Me and Roy [Carroll] were ready to go home after training that day, we had worked hard, but we're in the car park and we looks over, there is Greeny back out on the pitch with Ludo [Miklosko], doing kicks and other work.

"We gave him a bit of banter as you do about it, but it paid off. While Bobby Zamora scored the only goal in a 1-0 win couple of days later, Greeny played out of his skin that day and stopped about 50 shots from the Gunners ensuring we won the game."

The goalkeepers' union is often spoken about, with many saying the man in between the sticks is a "different breed of footballer". Walker said that applies to Green but added that he is also more of "a thinker" than most.

"He is a top lad, probably not like a typical goalkeeper. He thinks a lot, is conscientious. I knew of him before he came to West Ham, but since coming to West Ham, he has just got better and better. He is consistent.

"As I said, he is a strong character and will come out OK from all of this. He's too good a goalkeeper and person to let it affect him and what he does for West Ham."

Penalties were being spoken about ahead of the last-16 elimination by Germany this weekend. It was a spot-kick and resulting save that stands out as one of Walker's most memorable times in the claret and blue.

Six years ago, the Hammers were at Stamford Bridge for a League Cup tie that Chelsea went on to win 1-0, thanks to a Mateja Kezman strike, despite a spirited display from Alan Pardew's side.

Yet the moment of the match saw Walker forever endear himself to the Hammers faithful.

For Frank Lampard, former Hammers midfielder and Academy graduate who was denied a certain goal against the Germans after the referee failed to see it cross the line, the match saw him face the ire of the massed ranks of West Ham fans behind Walker's goal.

Just last month, Lampard returned to the Boleyn Ground to pay tribute to Academy director Tony Carr and was delighted to be given a positive reception by the Hammers fans.

But back in October 2004, in that capital cup tie, the mood was less charitable from the travelling support, especially when it was Lampard who stepped up to take a disputed penalty.

Walker, who had enjoyed a solid game until that point, takes up the rest of the story.

"All our fans were behind me and my goal - the support throughout had been fantastic - but as the penalty was awarded, after I think Arjen Robben was pulled down in box, the atmosphere stepped up a gear.

"The noise level went up three fold, but in between the cauldron of noise, I could hear 'You had better save this Jimmy' and 'Come on Jimmy, you can't let Frank score against us'.

"I knew at the time, he received a lot of stick from our fans, but I was like, I am going to get it in the neck big time, if I don't save it or put him off to miss in some way! The pressure was enormous on me!

"I just kept thinking I have to save this, I have to save this. Frank stepped up and I managed to go the right away and push it to safety.

"The roar of our fans behind me certainly told me I had done the right thing and for weeks after that game, I had loads of letters thanking me.

"Even now, if I speak to a West Ham fan, they will mention 'that penalty save'.

"Obviously I was pleased to have saved that penalty from Frank that night and from the reaction that followed was one of my best memories in a West Ham shirt."