Football

Zola: Parker can be key for England

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West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola has backed Scott Parker as the ideal replacement for Gareth Barry if the Manchester City midfielder fails to make the World Cup.

Barry is expected to be sidelined for a month after suffering ankle ligament damage and England's opening match of the tournament against the United States is just five weeks away. Zola is convinced that if Capello was to find himself without Barry then Parker, West Ham's player of the year, would be the perfect alternative.

"If they take Scott Parker they will not be disappointed," said Zola. "He has been our player of the season. For me personally, he has been exceptional. He has been an inspiration for others."

He added: "If you ask me, I would say take him but then I am his manager. I know that Capello will do the right things."

Zola's future at the club remains uncertain ahead of a meeting with club owners David Gold and David Sullivan next week. The Italian's professional relationship with the pair appears to be non-existent after it emerged last week they had been conducting transfer business behind his back.

Zola only discovered the club had made a £4million bid for West Brom midfielder Graham Dorrans when it was reported in the newspapers. And he was equally surprised when Sullivan revealed in an interview that every squad member apart from Scott Parker had been put up for sale.

"We are going to meet some time next week," said Zola. "There is no point in me saying whether I want to stay or not. Let me talk to the club first.

"I don't know what the owners are going to say.

"I am not very good at promoting myself, but we will see what the outcome is when we are there.

"If you ask me what I am going to say I honestly don't know."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Topics:
West Bromwich Albion
Football
Scott Parker
Manchester City
Graham Dorrans
Gareth Barry
Gianfranco Zola

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