Upson 'worn down' last season

West Ham defender felt guilt over injury-hit start at Upton Park

Upson: Guilt

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Matthew Upson has spoken of his stress and frustration at being unable to help West Ham's survival bid last season.

The former Birmingham defender moved to Upton Park for an initial £6m in January with the club deep in relegation trouble, but was injured half an hour into his debut and managed just another 11 minutes for the rest of the season.

And, while The Hammers eventually pulled off a dramatic escape on the final day of the season against Manchester United, Upson admits it was a very difficult time for him.

"I was stressed out because I felt a weight of responsibility," he told the Daily Mail.

"I was desperate to play. I could see West Ham in the position they were in and I couldn't get fit.

"If you are a human with feelings and standards you will feel guilty and it's not nice to feel guilt all the time. It can wear you down.

"Together with the change of environment and a move into rented accommodation, everything was disrupted.

"I wouldn't say I was on the verge of a breakdown, but it was a difficult five or six months."

European aim

Things have improved for West Ham this season, however, and Upson has set his sights on securing a place in Europe, although he is not getting carried away.

"For our fans, it's important we finish above Tottenham. It's probably the only thing most of them are bothered about.

"It's not something we focus on. We want to finish as high as possible and bring the European nights back to Upton Park, but from staying up by the skin of your teeth to Europe is a big jump in one season."

International dream
On a personal note, Upson is eager to get back into the England fold.

"That issue is not closed for me.

"It's a personal goal to get back in and play for my country again."