West Ham midfielder knows he has to take advantage of his opportunities

Parker has learnt the hard way

West Ham midfielder Scott Parker has learnt that when opportunity knocks, you had better answer.

He realised that as a young professional at the start of his career playing for Charlton and on the international stage where he before the weekend he had claimed four England caps, all through different clubs over an eight year period.

Parker earned his fifth and completed his first 90 minutes in England colours as the Three Lions beat Wales 2-0 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday, with the West Ham man putting in a typically impressive performance in the middle of the park.

“I have taken confidence from the way I have played all year. I feel like I am probably playing the best football of my career,” said Parker, who made his first England start in almost five years.

“The one thing I have noticed in my career is that when the opportunity comes, you need to try and grab it with two hands.

“If you go back through my career, whether it be when I went out on loan at Norwich and I came back and Alan Curbishley put me in the team at Charlton, that has happened.

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“I knew it was my one chance to get in the team and I took it. That’s the way it is for me. That’s the way it always seems to be. I thought about that before kick off in Cardiff. I knew I had to take my chance in this game. For definite.”

As a West Ham player Parker has been imperious for the last two seasons and although it would be hyperbole to say the Hammers are a one-man team, he is without doubt their most important player.

And the manner in which he conducts himself on the pitch embodies the archetypical ball-winning midfielder his country should have utilised over the last couple of years.

“It probably hasn’t baffled me. In football, nothing baffles me,” he said.

“At times, it has been a bit disappointing for me but, as always, I have just cracked on with and seen what happens. It was disappointing not to get picked for the World Cup.

“I did everything I possibly could but it wasn’t meant to be. That’s life. You need to move on. I have come back this year and done well for West Ham and hopefully I can progress.”

Parker is likely to retain his Hammer of the Year trophy for the third season in a row after another tremendous campaign and is hopeful that if he maintains his current form there will be further international opportunities.

“I would like to think that I can keep going the way I am going and do what I am doing,” he said.

“If I can do that and keep impressing the right people, then hopefully I can get a few more caps under my belt.”

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