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Zola: Players' success down to them
Published : 12 Apr 2009 22:15:00
Gianfranco Zola insists there is lots of time for his West Ham youngsters to fulfill their potential - but only they will decide their futures.Spurs boss Harry Redknapp was at Upton Park when the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole and Michael Carrick came through the ranks, and even he admits it was a freak that he got a group that good.Redknapp also suggested Zola's current crop of youth players are "not in the same class" as the ones he oversaw, but the Hammers boss feels there is time for his players to prove him wrong."I believe when Rio or Lamps or Joe Cole were coming through they were just promising. Then they improved," the Italian said."What I said about my players is that it is just down to them. If they work hard every day and keep the right attitude they can do that."Maybe Harry has more experience than me and can see forward more than me. But I believe everyone owns their own destiny. When I started playing football there were a few that said I wouldn't become the player I was but they didn't know what my attitude and mentality was."I believe that if my players have the attitude they can become important players."If they push themselves hard and believe in what they do they will go beyond the limits that people are putting on them now."Zola feels managers cannot take all the credit for youngsters coming through."I would like to say that if they achieve something it is down to me but it is not like that," he said. "I can only show them, then they have to move on and it is totally down to them."I don't know what Harry meant when he said that. As far as I'm concerned I will always be there showing them the line but the work is down to them."West Ham were upset with Spurs earlier in the season as Redknapp wanted Craig Bellamy. Now the two clubs are fighting for a place in next season's Europa League, adding spice to the rivalry.Zola watched his side lose at White Hart Lane on Saturday but still feels they can upset the odds and finish higher than a Spurs squad worth millions more than his own."Believe me, it will be a big achievement for us, considering the kind of players they have in their team," Zola said. "It will be huge. We are going to try very hard."They are a big club with a lot of financial resources behind them. The good thing about football is that it's not always down to money. We played against a team that spent so much money and we stood up to them. That makes me very proud."Centre-back Matthew Upson wants to test himself in Europe after tasting international football with England."That will help me individually and everyone collectively," he said. "To play against the best players in the world in European competition can only help you. It's about testing yourself and showing people that you are capable of performing at a high level."That is something I want to do because I want to play for England."