West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola paid tribute to England defender Matthew Upson after watching him provide the foundation for a first Barclays Premier League victory in eight attempts.
The 29-year-old, who scored for England against Germany in midweek, turned in a superb individual display as he and James Collins withstood the threat of Sunderland strikers Kenwyne Jones and Djibril Cisse at the Stadium of Light as the Hammers claimed a 1-0 victory.
A delighted Zola said: "I told him if I had to give him a vote one to 10, I couldn't because I would have given him 11."
He added: "He didn't lose one challenge. He was also aware, talking, commanding the defence. He was perfect.
"Matthew Upson deserves to play in the national team."
Asked how Upson's return to the international stage had boosted him, Zola added: "It has been a big boost for him.
"To perform well for a footballer is great, but also when you receive so many compliments, it is even bigger.
"He is a wonderful professional because he always does his best. What I like about him is he wants to improve, he wants to improve all the time.
"For a manager, it is so good to have players like that."
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