Upson praises Italian bosses

PUBLISHED: 08:34 26 March 2009 | UPDATED: 10:59 12 July 2010

England centre-back Matthew Upson, from Diss, has compared his club manager Gianfranco Zola to national coach Fabio Capello - and he is delighted to be playing for both of them.

England centre-back Matthew Upson, from Diss, has compared his club manager Gianfranco Zola to national coach Fabio Capello - and he is delighted to be playing for both of them.

Both are Italian and both have enjoyed success this season, with Zola putting West Ham in the frame for European qualification and Capello getting England on the road to the 2010 World Cup.

"There are a lot of similarities in their character and they way they view football," Upson said. "They definitely have a real tactical knowledge.

"Italian football is more tactical than the hustle and bustle of English football. Both managers have brought tactical awareness to their teams and that will make us better structured teams.

"At the top level that is the only way you can play football. Zola was a flair player and loved passing and moving the ball. Playing with Fabio Capello it is the same thing. If we don't have the ball we have a good shape and are hard to break down.'

Zola has also brought the best out of striker Carlton Cole, who joins Upson in the squad to face Slovakia in a friendly on Saturday and the qualifier against Ukraine on Wednesday.

Upson told "He's had a great run ever since Gianfranco Zola took over.

"He has known how to get the best out of Carlton, and Carlton in turn has put in some great performances. He deserves his call-up and he deserves his opportunity.'

Goalkeeper Robert Green has also been selected, meaning Zola has a trio of players working with Capello during the international break.

"It's massive, and something West Ham are very proud of,' Upson said.

"When the country last won the World Cup there was a big West Ham influence so the club has always carried that and it is very positive to have three players in the current squad.'

England hosted that tournament in 1966 and Upson has backed England's bid to stage it in 2018.

"It's something overdue for this country to host again,' he said. "The structure is here to host the World Cup so I can't think of a better venue.'

Striker Emile Heskey added: "The World Cup is massive, we have the fans and the facilities to cope with it. We have all the stadiums and everything so it would be really good for the whole country.'

While Wembley has been a home for fans to be proud of, England performances until recently have not given them much to cheer.

Now they are on track with their qualifiers, and Upson added: "A lot of people have said that perhaps we haven't performed as well as we should at the new Wembley, and they've probably got a right to say that.

"I think it's up to us to understand why we haven't performed and put that right and get some really good team performances and good results there.

"We really need to work to bring that level of performance from our away games back to Wembley.

"It's such a fantastic arena to play in and I'm sure the team will be giving it everything they've got.'

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