Upson applies science in quest to keep fit

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The Independent Football

Matthew Upson has taken up the advice of a South African specialist in biomechanics to do all he can to remain fit for West Ham United this season as injuries continue to pile up for the club's manager, Alan Curbishley.

The Hammers went down 2-0 at the Premier League leaders Arsenal on New Year's Day, in a match which Curbishley described as "one too far"in a hectic festive schedule during which they beat Manchester United last weekend. The midfielders Scott Parker and Nobby Solano were both absent at the Emirates on Tuesday, having picked up knocks against United, while the former Gunner, Freddie Ljungberg, lasted less than 40 minutes before he hobbled off with a hamstring problem.

Curbishley admits that, should the situation become "acute" in any area, he would have to consider strengthening his squad during this month's transfer window.

Upson, who had a spell at Arsenal earlier in his career, has played in all of the 20 Premier League games so far, which has provided a welcome consistency in what has been a much-changed defence.

The England international, 28, said he had taken advice from an expert in kinesiology the scientific study of muscles and movement in the body in an attempt to keep in top condition for the battles ahead.

He said: "I have played every minute in the Premiership. That is great and is something I was confident of doing. I have gone to the ends of the earth to search ways of getting my body on the pitch and I will do anything it takes to play and stay fit.

"I have got a South African doctor who specialises in kinesiology, but he applies it to sports medicine. He is fantastic and the best person I have ever worked with. I will do various things in the warm-up and during the week. It is not just before a game he creates orthotics out of yellow pages which loads your body through your feet."

Anton Ferdinand returned to the starting XI on Tuesday in another change at the heart of the West Ham defence, and Upson hopes soon to be able to establish a regular relationship in the central partnership.

"It is a bit frustrating but it is part of it. Whoever comes in, you have to form a partnership and understand each other's game," he said. "It is important when you play as a centre-half that you understand your partner. It is very much a partnership, as opposed to two central defenders. You have got to know how each other plays and when people go tight and you want to commit.

"There are various different things, but I know all four partners pretty well because I have had enough experience of all of them."

West Ham had won two and drawn one from their last three games, but were facing an uphill battle when Arsenal's in-form Croatian international Eduardo scored after just 70 seconds to put the leaders in front.

An amazing finish from the tightest of angles by Emmanuel Adebayor made it 2-0 inside 20 minutes just when the Hammers had started to regroup, and from then on the match was pretty much over as a contest. Upson reflected: "It is frustrating because we didn't start the best and to concede against a team like Arsenal so early on is criminal from the way it happened. We slit our own throats in a way and we are all disappointed. But that is life and we learn from it.

"Our away form has been pretty good this season so we have just got to take it on the chin and move on."

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