Etherington expected West Ham axe

Matthew Etherington admits he was lucky not to get the boot from West Ham after taking his foot off the gas last season.

The Hammers winger, 26, is in talks over a new deal at Upton Park after some impressive displays this campaign.

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But Etherington, who went to the Sporting Chance clinic to help fight a gambling addiction 12 months ago, thought manager Alan Curbishley would show him the door last summer.

Etherington told The Sun: "I'm in talks over a new contract but maybe there was a time when I didn't think I'd get one.

"I might have become complacent under former boss Alan Pardew. I started thinking I'd be in the team every week. But I found myself out of the team under Curbs and had to work extra hard in pre- season to put it right."

Etherington was tipped for an England call-up in 2006 when newly-promoted
Etherington admitted: "When you see all your mates on a great run - as we were at the end of last season - you want to be a part of that.

"I always train hard but maybe these days stay for another hour and do extra work, whereas before I'd get straight into the car and go home to see my wife and kid.

"My wife doesn't mind, though - she has plenty of time to see me later in the day! Every player has a time in their career when things don't go well for them."