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The Julian Dicks Column: 4th October

Filed: Thursday, 4th October 2012
By: Julian Dicks

It's with great pleasure that we welcome West Ham United FC legend Julian Dicks to KUMB.com. Julian shares his thoughts with the readers of Knees up Mother Brown on a regular basis via his weekly column, the latest of which begins a review of Monday night's encouraging win at Loftus Road...

Winning ways

Any result away from home in the Premier League is a fantastic result, whether the opposition are at the bottom or not. After all, you can only play what's in front of you. QPR have got some good players and even though they're struggling so far this season, you still have to go there and get a result.

Getting that first away win takes the pressure off the team but West Ham have started the season well, they've had some good results, they're half way up the table and things are good. They should be full of confidence as they've had a great start. They might not have played any of the big boys yet but I'd rather be where they are than where QPR are.

This weekend West Ham face Arsenal who are a good side with some great players. It'll be a massive game on Saturday, especially at home, but if Mo Diame, Kevin Nolan and Mark Noble are on their game then I think they've got a great chance.

Of course, Sam Allardyce had a great record against Arsenal at Bolton. If West Ham get in their faces, put pressure on them and get amongst them then I've got a feeling they'll turn them over. We all know Arsenal like to play football and they can pass the ball about better than most teams if they're allowed to, but I've just got a feeling West Ham will get a result.

Men in black

Mark Clattenburg booked eight West Ham players in Monday night's game with QPR. It was so different when I played as most referees used to give you the benefit of the doubt. We all make mistakes; we all mis-time tackles but now, because they're under so much pressure from FIFA, one bad tackle and a player is booked or sent off. Nobody gives players the benefit of the doubt any more.

It's a lot harder for referees these days because they're under a lot of pressure - not just from FIFA but from the managers. You also get players brandishing imaginary cards and that's not right; for me, those players should be sent off. I'm not a lover of referees(!) but they're under a lot of pressure and the more we can use modern technology - such as goal line cameras - the easier it will be for them.

Lazy journalism

Sam Allardyce is always going to be associated with a certain style of football. He could go and manage Barcelona and they'd still say the same. That's going to stick with him forever; that's just the way it is.

Last season I wasn't a lover of West Ham's football but this year they're playing some really good football. At the end of the day, most of the media haven't got a clue what they're looking at anyway but I was still surprised how much good football West Ham played at the Sunderland game. It wasn't the season before, but that was about results.

They've got the ball down, they've played it on the floor. With Andy Carroll back I think there'll be a lot more football played because he takes two or three players away and that allows other players more time and space to get the ball down and play.

There will be a tendency at times to play directly to Carroll; we had the same with Johnny Hartson. We liked to play football too but when you've got a big striker up there if you can put a quality ball into him it's sometimes better to play one ball than playing seven or eight balls before getting it to him.

It's not about route one, direct football - that's not the case. Andy Carroll's a very good player and if the defenders can get the ball to him - and it's not about smashing it over his head but playing it onto his head or into his chest - it allows him to bring midfield players into play.

Mark my words

I think Mark Noble will be an England player one day - but he's not ready just yet. He's had a great start to the season but you only have to look at the players in his position and ask: "Is he better than them currently?" - and the answer is no, not at the moment. But I can certainly see him as a future England midfielder. He's got some improving to do but he's still relatively young and I think he's got a great future in front of him.

Some Hammers fans have also suggested that James Tomkins should be in the England squad. In midfield you can have holding players, attacking players, ball players and ball winners whereas at centre back there are not many variations. Essentially you've got to be able to head the ball, you've got to be a good tackler and, for me, you've got to be able to play a bit of football. It obviously depends who you're up against but at the moment I think he'd struggle to make the England squad.

Looking back: Rio and Frank

I read this week that my old team mate Rio Ferdinand is unlikely to be selected for England in the near future. At 33 he's probably too old now plus you've got younger players like Gary Cahill and Ryan Shawcross coming through - though I'm not so keen on the latter. Rio's had a great career and been a fantastic player but sometimes you have to say, "hang on a minute, perhaps I'm getting a little bit old". Of course he still wants to play, but Roy Hodgson is obviously looking to the future.

It was absolutely fantastic to see Rio, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole and Michael Carrick come through at West Ham because you could see they were all going to be fantastic players. They were young lads at the time and they were cocky with it but it was great to play with them. I played quite a few times with Rio, Frank and Joe and it was nice to see them progress - especially Frank and Rio - into world-class players.

Although he got a bit of stick, Frank was always a good player. Yes he was carrying a bit of weight as a youngster and it didn't help having his dad there but he was always going to be a good player. What he's achieved is exceptional.

I used to spend time with Frank after training at Chadwell Heath and he worked hard at it. He always had ability and he's always had an eye for goal but it doesn't matter how good you are, you've still got to practise and put the hours in - and he did that.

I take my hat off to him; he's still doing it now because he loves football.

Julian Dicks was talking to Graeme Howlett.

* Julian is currently available to coach both junior and senior football teams. For more details, follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JULIAN3DICKS.

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

Your Comments

by Tell it how it is Charlie!
03:59PM 5th Oct 2012
''Is it "the bit of weight" that has stopped Frank Lampard getting any serious injury throughout his playing career? Do you think that players are just too light these days? They certainly appear more susceptible to knee ligament injuries these days.

Spill the beans, performance enhancing drugs, is it in football? Just how do players keep the pace for so long?''

by Pam
11:33PM 4th Oct 2012
''Hi Julian. I totally agree with you about Rio, not only is he too old but he has not played for England for at least 18 months through one reason or another. He should concentrate on his Champions League and Premier League.

As far as Frank Lampard is concerned, again I totally agree. I love watching him play, he is absolutely brilliant, he plays with so much passion and spirit nthat you don't get with a lot of the youngsters of today.

He may be a Chelsea player but he started at West Ham and as far as I am concerned that the way he should stay.''

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