Belfast Telegraph

Upson backs Tomkins for the top

West Ham captain Matthew Upson believes James Tomkins has the potential to be an England star of the future.

Upson has played alongside Tomkins at the heart of the Hammers' defence for the majority of what has so far been a poor season.

"I played a lot with him last season and he has the raw material to become a top player," Upson said of the 21-year-old after Sunday's 3-1 win over Liverpool.

"He has come on leaps and bounds this season.

"If he keeps improving the way he is and mentally develops I think he'll have a great chance of being an international."

Aside from a late mix-up with Lars Jacobsen in the build-up to Liverpool's goal, Tomkins played well on Sunday, keeping Luis Suarez in check for most of the game.

Striker Frederic Piquionne believes the victory has renewed the squad's optimism and has called on his team-mates to produce a repeat performance against Stoke to further their bid to avoid relegation.

"We will take lots of confidence from the Liverpool win," he said.

"It was very good and we are pleased we played well and scored lots of goals. We need to keep this going. We are confident but we have to do the job against Stoke."

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