Hammers legend: ‘West Ham have only four Premier League standard players!’

West Ham goalkeeping legend Phil Parkes believes that the current squad compares badly to the 1980/81 side that ran away with the second division

West Ham legend Phil Parkes is confident that the Hammers will win promotion this season, but he fears for their fate in the top flight with their current squad of players.

The 61-year-old former goalkeeper, who made nearly 350 appearances for West Ham over 11 years at Upton Park, has been a keen observer of the team this season, but he has not been impressed by what he has seen.

“I really think that West Ham only have three or four players in their squad that will be able to do the business in the Premier League,” said Parkes.

“Robert Green and James Tomkins have been excellent, while I have been impressed by Matt Taylor because he gives the team something a little bit different.

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“But apart from that, maybe Mark Noble is the only other one who is good enough for me.”

West Ham sit top of the Championship following Southampton’s surprise home defeat by Leicester City, but Parkes suggests that is only because of the poor standard of the division this season.

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“I still think they will be promoted and I also think that they have the strongest squad in the division and could run away with it if they can find a consistent run of form, but in truth I think that says just how poor the Championship is,” said Parkes, voted West Ham’s greatest-ever goalkeeper.

“I thought that West Ham were dreadful against Forest and really should have lost the game and in truth I haven’t seen them play that well all season.”

The legend is, of course, from a different era of football, but he firmly believes that the Hammers teams of his time would have run away with this league.

“I think when you consider the team we had in 1980/81 when we won the second division, that side would have got promotion in this division already. I don’t think I have seen a team this season who would have beaten us,” he said.

“Carlton Cole has got eight goals this season, but he should have had double that. How many goals would David Cross have got against oppositions like these? So many.

“The team is set up well away from home where they can sit back and hit teams on the counter-attack, but at home they need someone with a bit of imagination and flair who can unlock defences and, except perhaps for Taylor, I don’t think they have got it.”

Parkes was quick to praise one of his successors in the West Ham goal though. He has been hugely impressed by the efforts of Green.

“I think he is back close to his best and that is testament to the character of the player,” said the former England international.

“He doesn’t come and collect the ball like he used to, but he punches well from his six-yard box and I think that he is vital for the team.

“If they didn’t have Green fit, I can’t see them going up because the back-up is just not good enough,” he concluded.

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