Phil Parkes: Roeder was a really lovely guy and I’ll remember our time together fondly

He was also a very good footballer and a defender who liked to play the ball out

I wanted to start my column this month by saying how saddened I was to hear about the passing of Glenn Roeder.

I knew Glenn really well. We played at QPR together after QPR brought him from Leyton Orient.

He was such a lovely guy, very softly spoken almost to the extent that you’d say he was shy.

He was a very good footballer and a defender who liked to play the ball out – he wasn’t just a kick it and rush player.

He had this stepover trick that he used to do all the time. We knew it was coming, the crowd knew it was coming, and I’m sure the opposition players knew it was coming but you just couldn’t stop him because he did it so well.

Something that some West Ham fans might not know is that he also scored for West Ham – when playing for Newcastle, during our 8-1 thrashing where Alvin Martin scored a hattrick.

The last time I saw him was a few years ago when we were both invited on a golfing trip to Spain.

He really didn’t want to be there and I remember he came up to me and said how bad he was at golf but he just couldn’t say no.

I think what his passing has shown is just how much respect he had in the game. I know he didn’t have the best time managing West Ham, and it was sad to see how much stick he got when he returned back to West Ham as Newcastle manager.

Speaking of Newcastle, we play them next month in a run of six games – across March and April – that could make or break our season.

Along with Man United, Arsenal, Wolves, Leicester, and Chelsea – these upcoming games will really show what our squad is capable of, and where we might finish.

I really hope the lads took a lot of positives from the Man City game last month because, just like when we played Liverpool away earlier this season, a draw would’ve been a fair result.

I thought we played well against City – a team in such hot form of late – and really didn’t deserve to lose.

I did, however, think the goals against us were a bit soft and I did wonder if we’d have conceded those had Fabianski been in goal.

But I think coming away from an in-form Man City side disappointed that we should have got at least a draw shows how different we are this season.

Normally when we travel up to Manchester, we need to get a calculator ready to keep the score.

I don’t think that result will have had any impact on our confidence, and we should go into our next six games believing we can win them all.

There is no reason we shouldn’t be picking up points because it’s not as if we’ve not been playing well, or losing many games where the doubts start to creep into your mind.

We are in a good position in the league for a reason – the table doesn’t lie as they say – and we should be going onto the field with the opposition worrying about us.

In recent seasons, I think we’ve been too worried about other teams and not playing our own game but this season, without doubt, teams have given us the respect we deserve.

In years gone by if a team were on a bad run of results and needed a game to turn their season round, you just knew that game would be against West Ham.

But that’s not been the case this season. We are becoming a side that is not easy to beat. 

Who knows where they can go to this season, and how many points we can pick up – we’ve got everything to play for and nothing to lose.

If we can successfully navigate these six games, our remaining games give us a real chance to really get a run together.

We could also have a major say in the relegation battle, and this could make our last few games tough as they could be against sides battling for survival.

But again, they are where they are for a reason and we need to go into each game without worrying about them.

Every game is another opportunity to show the rest of the league what we can do. We need to go out to try and win every game, and if our opposition are near the bottom, we need to be ruthless.

If beating them relegates our opposition, we can’t think about that. There could be an argument that in the past we have been a bit soft but not this season.

We need to carry on the form that we have had all season – especially the players who are hoping to secure their place in their national team’s squad for the Euros.

One match I’m particularly looking forward to this summer is England against the Czech Republic in the group stages. Soucek against Rice in the middle of the park will be a great battle. 

I didn’t realise but they’ve actually already played an international match against each other back in October 2019 when the Czechs beat England 2-1.

There’ll certainly be no love lost when they cross that white line because they will be playing for their country.

It’ll also be interesting to see how Coufal does against the likes of Sterling, Rashford and company.

If both Coufal and Soucek carry their form this season into the Euros, they’ll make the Czech side tough to beat.

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