Joy for John

He has played at the very highest level and alongside some of the finest forwards in the modern game, but John Carew is thoroughly enjoying life at West Ham United.

The Norway striker, who has been capped 90 times and won league titles in his homeland, Spain and France, has partnered the likes of Francesco Totti and David Villa during a hugely successful career.

However, his appetite for playing football, winning matches and passing on his immense experience to new strike partner Sam Baldock have not been diminished.

The 32-year-old was at his best in Saturday's 4-0 npower Championship win over Blackpool, scoring a trademark header - his third goal in three games for club and country - setting up a goal for Baldock and giving the Tangerines back four a thorough going over with his power, movement and outstanding technique.

The three-times Norwegian Footballer of the Year might has won plenty of medals already, but he now has his sights on adding another one to his collection.

"It felt good to have a game like this at home that we won convincingly against a decent team who came down from the Premier League last year," he told West Ham TV. "I think we took another step up to where we should be level-wise so it was a good feeling.

"We played really good offensive football, so it was great. We know we haven't taken enough points at home from the beginning - the reason for that I don't know - but I think we've taken a step in the right direction in the last few games.

"We showed that we're near where we should be and I really enjoyed playing out there, being out on the pitch. The fans were fantastic, so I really enjoyed the atmosphere and playing good football. The spirit is so nice and they're a great bunch of lads, so it's very enjoyable."

While his roll call of former partners is like a who's who of European football, Carew admitted he is relishing the opportunity to help 22-year-old Baldock on his own path to the top of the game.

The pair have spent time working on their partnership on and off the pitch - something that was clearly evident to anyone who saw their movement and combination play on Saturday.

The only sour note came when Carew chose to curl a shot over the crossbar rather than tee-up Baldock for what would have been his hat-trick goal midway through the second half.

"Sam loves me! I set up his second goal, remember? I actually didn't see him. I looked up early and then lowered my head again and decided what to do, then I saw him come in after. Luckily it wasn't decisive, but he still has to thank me for his second goal!

"We do talk in the dressing room. It's important we do that, because he is young and I have played for 15 years at the top level and I have played with quite a few top strikers in my career. I think he could be really, really good.

"I think he has a big future ahead of him, so I'm just trying to give him small bits of advice all the time - things that I've learned playing with great players like Pablo Aimar, Francesco Totti and David Villa. I also played with Gabriel Agbonlahor together for three years and we did really well together.

"I spoke a lot to Agbonlahor as well and he has turned into a great player, so the advice I can give to Sam I will always be ready to give.

"If I can help him to develop and be a good influence, I will do my best to do so because I have been in the game for one and a half decades. Hopefully I've learned something along the way that I can pass on to someone else."

John Carew

Little and large - Sam Baldock and John Carew celebrate

While he is looking forward to seeing Baldock continue to develop, Carew is also excited about the prospect of Tuesday's table-top clash at Southampton.

Victory over the Saints - wrecking their 100 per cent home record in the process - would send West Ham top of the table. Carew also believes success on the south coast would further strengthen the Hammers' title credentials following Saturday's thumping win over Blackpool.

"I think it will be the next step for us to do something there because we are good enough to change their home record. Giving Southampton their first loss at home is our goal and I think we're good enough to do that. Hopefully we can do that.

"Being in the top two doesn't put pressure on us - in fact it has the opposite effect. It has given us a confidence boost, because it's a bit more of a struggle if you're fourth or fifth and you know you have pressure on yourself to win and not drop even further.

"We played against a direct opponent in Blackpool on Saturday - I think they'll be up there in fourth or fifth in the course of the season - so I think it was a very important for us to win. If we had lost, there would have been more pressure on us to have to try to catch up.

"This gave us more confidence to go up to second."