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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 December 2005, 12:31 GMT
Lee enjoys final fling
By Paul Fletcher

Wycombe midfielder Robert Lee
I'm still enjoying playing and training - and the fact we are still unbeaten is a major plus
Rob Lee
Rob Lee said when he joined his home-town club of West Ham in August 2003 that he would hang up his boots when his time at Upton Park ended.

Instead, 28 months later, the 39-year-old midfielder finds himself a member of the only unbeaten team in the country.

Wycombe top the League Two table and Lee, who won 21 England caps, is happily enjoying an unexpected chapter of his playing career.

"I basically did retire for five or six months after leaving West Ham in November 2004 until Wycombe boss John Gorman got in touch," Lee told BBC Sport.

"I knew John from his time as England assistant coach and he asked me to come back.

"I played the last eight games of last season and I could see that some of the lads had good potential and John plays the type of football that I like to play so I decided to stay for another year.

"I'm still enjoying playing and training with the lads and the fact we are still unbeaten is a major plus. Everything is going very well at the moment."

In his 22nd year as a professional, Lee is one of a number of players, such as Teddy Sheringham and Peter Beagrie, reaping the benefits of looking after their bodies and listening to its needs.

ROBERT LEE'S CAREER
2005-: Wycombe
2003-2004: West Ham
2002-2003: Derby County
1992-2002: Newcastle
1983-1992: Charlton

Lee does not play every game, nor train every day, but has been given licence by Gorman to listen to his body and work out when it needs rest.

The midfielder made more than 300 appearances for both Charlton and Newcastle and is using his time at Wycombe to develop his coaching skills and prepare for a possible career in management.

His is currently taking his coaching badges and making the most of the opportunity to familiarise himself with the lower divisions.

"Being at Wycombe probably suits me as much as it suits Wycombe," he added.

"John lets me do some coaching with the younger players, who listen, are keen to learn to learn and want play at a higher level.

Robert Lee in action for Wycombe
In my opinion we should be 10 or 12 points clear
Rob Lee

"I haven't played at this level before so it is good to get to know different players at different clubs.

"It is good to know who players in this division are and have a little dossier on players because you never know what might happen, some might become big stars one day."

Lee has been suprised by the footballing ability of some players he has encountered in League Two, concluding that perhaps their attitude rather than lack of ability has hindered their progress.

But the footballing principles at Wycombe suit his belief in the way the game should be played.

"Not many teams want to play to get out of the division, which is a shame really," said the 39-year-old.

"I have played against a few that try to kick you off the park, which isn't great for the fans.

"Football in all divisions is entertainment and fans pay good money to watch the game.

"I certainly think we play the right way. We probably play sometimes when we shouldn't and if we can get up by playing football, like Yeovil last season, I think it will prove something.

"At the moment we are very confident and look like we are going to win every game. We should have won a lot more and, in my opinion, we should be 10 or 12 points clear."

Lee won promotion to the top flight with Charlton in 1986 and again with Newcastle in 1993.

If he gets his way there will be another successful promotion campaign in the twilight of his career.


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