West Ham's Reo-Coker "no dumb footballer"

West Ham United midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker hopes he's regarded as being a cut above the average footballer.

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Reo-Coker, 24, admitted: "To a certain degree, I think I am a role model. I will make mistakes but I don't go out of my way to get into trouble or get any negative attention. I do try to live a righteous life. I am religious but I am not going to claim to be a saint.

"I live life by a simple motto - I treat people like I want to be treated. I'm a genuine person and I don't really like people who befriend you for their own personal gain.

"I'm single and I don't think people my age are ready for that commitment, especially in this industry. A lot of women are so influenced by what they see in the media and think they can get a get-rich-quick lifestyle just by marrying a footballer.

"It's heartbreaking to see that some women will stoop so low. It is sad to see that some girls actually grow up and their only goal and ambition in life is to be a WAG. I hope that if I ever do have a daughter, that I can raise her better than that.

"I really do think that people should try to achieve things for themselves."

Reo-Coker cost £8.5million last summer and is desperate to achieve things for himself as part of the collective that is Martin O'Neill's Villa.

Brains run in his family as his sisters are qualified in law and economics.

And Reo-Coker is determined to keep his own grey matter ticking over.

He added: "It's about using your brain so it doesn't go to mush. To prove that you are not just another dumb footballer, that you are quite an intelligent man and able to have a life outside football.

"So many footballers struggle to function in a normal society. They are too used to having everything done for them. I've never been comfortable in letting someone else organise something. I have to be in control.

"I pay my own bills, I speak to my accountant, I am the one in control."

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