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Guess what? Zola’s smiling!

Filed: Wednesday, 15th July 2009
By: Staff Writer

If Gianfranco Zola isn’t smiling, you know something is up at West Ham.

The Hammers boss is a very positive character and his love for the game of English football is extremely refreshing.
With this in mind, it is good to see that he showed off his trademark grin after West Ham’s first pre-season friendly. The Hammers defeated Blue Square Premier outfit Grays Athletic 2-1, with the majority of the available players getting a valuable 45 minutes of playing time under their belts.

One of the main plus points was the appearance of Daniel Gabbidon who had his first taste of action since injuring himself during a reserve game back in January 2008. His involvement in the game against Grays means that the defender has a chance of getting a full pre-season under his belt, which can only be a good thing.

Elsewhere, there were outings for first team hopefuls Julien Faubert, Kieron Dyer, Anthony Edgar and Junior Stanislas. As for the two goals that won West Ham the game, these were scored by academy products Zavon Hines and Cristian Montano.
The youngsters led the line extremely well for Zola and even though it doesn’t take much to make him a happy man, it was clear to see why he was pleased with what his team got out of this friendly.

Speaking afterwards, Zola said that he was ‘very happy today’ because the young players performed extremely well. The Italian also revealed how pleased he was that ‘everyone came through’ unharmed from the game after only one week of pre-season training to date.
Continuing his praise for the youngsters though, Zola said that they had ‘lots of confidence’, resulting in an extremely ‘encouraging display’. West Ham were without all of their international players remember, so to have the remainder of the squad performing in a positive manner bodes well for the depth Zola has at his disposal.

The next step of pre-season for Zola’s men is a game against CambridgeUnited before they travel to Austria where they will play four games to continue their preparation for the 2009/2010 Premier League campaign. Travelling and staying abroad presents an opportunity for team bonding as well, so I’m sure Zola has something up his sleeve to keep his squad united.

After this trip, a game against Italian side Napoli sees them finish off their pre-season preparations. Hopefully Zola will still be smiling at this stage and long into the season!

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.

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