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Zola: Parker deserves England chance
Published : 20 Mar 2009 16:00:00
West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola says Scott Parker is the finest defensive midfielder in England and has urged Fabio Capello to give him a chance.Parker, 28, has three caps - all were earned while at separate clubs - but has not featured under Capello and appears to be behind Gareth Barry and Michael Carrick if the England boss wants to use a disciplined midfielder.Capello names his squad this weekend for the friendly against Slovakia and the World Cup qualifier against Ukraine - and Zola feels Parker is worthy of a place."Scott Parker has been outstanding this year," Zola said. "He deserves it. His energy and quality has been outstanding, his passing - everything."He is a complete midfielder because he can produce quality but works very hard defensively. I believe in his position he is the best in this country."Parker's last cap was in the defeat in Croatia during Steve McClaren's reign and he would be the answer to questions in pub quizzes around the country if he earns an appearance while at Upton Park.He was given his debut while at Charlton, played once while at Chelsea and a third time while at Newcastle - so another appearance would mean four caps while at four different clubs.Zola feels other players in his squad should also be recognised by Capello, pointing to the likes of Carlton Cole and Robert Green."From my point of view there should be many but Capello is the one who decides," Zola said."Our players are in good form and there is a chance for a few players to be in the squad. If my players are selected they will do well for England."Cole is suspended for the Barclays Premier League clash at Blackburn on Saturday, while Matthew Upson needs a late check on his calf injury.Savio Nsereko also requires assessment, but the good news is that Diego Tristan and Kieron Dyer are in contention for a starting place.Zola feels another four wins will earn a place in next season's Europa League - but he is wary of the threat Sam Allardyce's men pose."They are very dangerous, especially up front," Zola said. "They have big, powerful players and will play a physical game which will ask questions or ourselves and we need to be at our best."But we are okay. We are in a position where we can play this game with confidence."Zola's men have seven points from their last games, bouncing back from five games without a win."The team has shown me it is a strong team and also a mentally strong team," Zola added."After we lost a few games - against Manchester United and Bolton, then in the FA Cup against Middlesbrough - we had a very difficult game against Manchester City and the players performed very well."It was a very good indication for me how strong they are mentally."