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Cottee Column: Stand up and be counted

Thursday, December 12, 2013
4:45 PM

Hammers legend Tony Cottee writes for you every week

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I think most of us were not expecting anything from Saturday’s trip to Liverpool, but it all leads on to this weekend’s clash with Sunderland, which I see as the most important game since West Ham came back into the Premier League.

It is simply time for the players to stand up and be counted and though I would normally say that I would settle for a draw, when you look at the fact that we have Manchester United and Arsenal after Sunderland, we simply have to take the three points on Saturday.

We will have to do it without Kevin Nolan of course, after he showed his frustration and got sent off at Liverpool.

It is the sort of thing that happens. I’m not going to criticise him because we have all done it. I have lost my temper, lashed out and got sent off myself, but though he is out for three games, he can still use his influence in the dressing room as the skipper.

For Ravel Morrison it could be a blessing in disguise. From what I have seen of him he is a number 10 and he has to slot into that role behind a striker, a bit like the role that Ross Barkley played so well for Everton at Arsenal on Sunday.

Looking at the Liverpool game, I have to say that the luck wasn’t really with the team. They gave it a real go and it wasn’t a 4-1 rollover defeat by any means.

That sort of bad luck seems to hit you when you are struggling as it has happened to me many times and there is really not a lot you can do about it, except hope your luck changes sooner or later.

We created chances on Saturday and had a go, but when you are playing against someone like Suarez in the form he is in at the moment, it is always going to be really tough.

Everything he hits seems to fly in these days, even if it comes via a huge deflection and it is tough to live with.

Hopefully Sunderland won’t have such good luck this weekend and I am going for an all guns blazing 2-0 win for West Ham.

● Going back to Luis Suarez, it is certainly going to be tough for England against him in next summer’s World Cup after we were drawn against him in our group.

When you think of the best players in the world, there is Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Arjen Robben, Gareth Bale and Frank Ribery and there is Suarez. I would certainly put him among my top five players in the world.

I wouldn’t call ours the group of death as there are a couple of others which look very tough too, but I certainly think that we are only third favourites to get through the group behind Uruguay and Italy.

I am planning to go out there for my first ever World Cup, so hopefully I will see a winning England team, but I think a lot will depend on that first game against the Italians in the jungle as well as the way we handle Suarez as well as their other stars like Edinson Cavani.

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