West Ham 'need a bit of luck', says Reo-Coker
Wednesday 31 January 2007
Nigel Reo-Coker has rejected suggestions that he is part of a "Baby Bentley" culture at West Ham United, insisting: "I'm still on the same deal that I was when we were promoted."
The 22-year-old midfielder has suffered a dip in form after impressing last season, one of the problems which has led to the Upton Park club facing a battle against relegation from the Premiership.
West Ham fans have jeered the England Under-21 international and he has received abusive mail, with accusations that he is one of the young players who have got carried away with one successful season in the top flight.
But Reo-Coker refuses to accept that his team-mates are comfortable on their Premiership contracts.
"I've heard the criticism so many times about players not being hungry because of the financial rewards we get but I don't know where the information comes from," he said. "I have no fat contract. I'm still on the same deal that I was when we were promoted. Other players have had improvements and if I wanted to be a problem I could have gone in and demanded this and that all the time - I haven't done that."
Before his dismissal as manager, Alan Pardew revealed that West Ham's new owners have a financial plan for every eventuality, including relegation, which would lead to players' contracts being revised if the club drop back into the Championship.
Alan Curbishley, who took over from Pardew, highlighted a lack of hunger following the 6-0 thrashing at Reading on New Year's Day and famously mentioned the "Baby Bentley".
Reo-Coker reacted angrily to abuse from fans following Saturday's defeat to Watford in the FA Cup, but he believes it shows his determination.
"To a certain degree I regret getting involved but I'm only human," he said. "For me, if I had not reacted it would have shown more that I didn't care. We're being accused of a lack of commitment by some and that is just not true. We're working so hard at the training ground and we just need a bit of luck."
The Republic of Ireland manager Steve Staunton yesterday named seven uncapped players in a 24-man squad for the Euro 2008 Group D qualifier in San Marino next Wednesday. "I knew when I took the job that there were young players with the potential to play international football," Staunton said in a statement. "It is up to them now to show me that they should be in the starting 11."
The Charlton Athletic reserve goalkeeper Darren Randolph is among those with a chance to win their first cap as the usual keeper Shay Given is out with a groin injury. Also missing with hamstring injuries are the Charlton midfielder Andy Reid and Reading's Kevin Doyle. Returning after lengthy recoveries from injuries are Levante's Ian Harte and Newcastle United's Stephen Carr. Ireland are fifth in the seven-team group.
* England's Under-19 clash with Poland at Bournemouth on 6 February is a 10,500 sell-out. The Football Association has confirmed that all tickets for the game at the Fitness First Stadium have been sold.
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