Grant stands firm over Parker
Avram Grant has insisted sought-after midfielder Scott Parker will remain his West Ham United heartbeat. The 55-year-old manager also backed England internationals Robert Green and Matthew Upson to overcome their FIFA World Cup™ disappointment.
Tottenham Hotspur yesterday had a bid for Parker - reportedly valued at £7m - swept angrily off the table by Hammers chairman David Sullivan. And Grant said: "We want to plan to improve for the next few seasons and Scott Parker is a big part of this process.
"He is a very good player and has a good influence on the young players. I'm sure if he was for sale that other teams would want him as well. But we are a team with ambition and we want to progress."
Confidence in England pair
Parker played alongside Green and Upson in West Ham's 2-0 pre-season victory over MK Dons last night, secured with goals from Julien Faubert and Carlton Cole. The goalkeeper was dropped by England after his mistake gifted USA a draw in their opening match at South Africa 2010, while the centre-back played in the 4-1 defeat by Germany in the Round of 16.
"Robert is a good goalkeeper. He is doing his job and he is training well," Grant said. "Matthew Upson also played his first 45 minutes as well. It was good for them and for us.
"They are not children. They know disappointment is part of the game, and they need to recover very quickly because they are playing for the team. What has happened has happened and we are looking forward. I have no worries at all, it was business as usual and they know that."
Parker was the only player declared not for sale by Sullivan this summer, with Green, Upson and Cole all linked with moves away from Upton Park. But West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady stressed the club had turned down bids for players and the focus is on improving, not dismantling, the squad.
The Hammers have been chasing defender Tal Ben Haim and Nice striker Loic Remy. Grant told the club's official website: "We are looking for players. There are good players in this team, but we want to make the squad stronger and we are looking for two or three players that can improve the team. I am happy with what we have, but I am always looking for a way of improving and making things better.