By Talal Malik
LONDON, Apr 1 (Reuters) The evergreen Teddy Sheringham is eager to mark his 40th birthday with a place in West Ham United's attack for the London derby against Charlton Athletic tomorrow.
If selected for the game at Upton Park, the former England striker will join the likes of midfielder Gordon Strachan and goalkeeper John Burridge, who also played in the top division in their 40s.
''I will celebrate my 40th birthday with my family on Sunday night after the game and then I am going to Dubai with the players,'' Sheringham told reporters.
''I would love to celebrate my birthday by starting against Charlton, I am still eager to start and I will find out (if I am selected) on Saturday.'' Sheringham, born in the year of England's 1966 World Cup victory, has had a distinguished 24-year career including more than 700 matches, almost 350 goals and 51 England caps.
He started out at Millwall and helped the club gain promotion to the top division for the first time in their history, a feat he describes as the best moment of his career.
Sheringham joined Nottingham Forest in 1991 before moving a year later to Tottenham Hotspur where he succeeded Gary Lineker and went on to form a dynamic partnership with Germany striker Juergen Klinsmann.
His international career started relatively late and reached a peak at Euro 96 held in England.
Sheringham was the perfect foil up front for Alan Shearer and the duo hit two goals apiece in a thrilling 4-1 win over Netherlands in the group stages of the competition.
''If you asked me to pick my dream moment, it would be playing for England (against the Dutch) at Wembley, scoring two goals and being named man of the match,'' said Sheringham.
He was then 30 and, on the domestic front, had yet to win a major trophy.
A move to Manchester United in June 1997, succeeding Eric Cantona at Old Trafford, was supposed to change all that but no medals arrived in his first year under Alex Ferguson.
Sheringham's long wait for silverware was finally ended in spectacular fashion when United landed the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup treble in 1999.
After sealing the league title, he scored in the FA Cup final win over Newcastle United before, four days later, equalising in stoppage-time to help Ferguson's men defeat Bayern Munich in the Champions League final.
''Winning the treble with Manchester United obviously stands out,'' said Sheringham. ''It was an 11-day spell I would never change for anything and it was truly amazing to be a part of.'' Despite being in his mid-30s, he was playing some of the best football of his career and picked up two more Premier League winner's medals in 2000 and 2001.
He collected a rare double in 2001 when he was voted by the football writers and by his fellow players as the Footballer of the Year.
At the end of his four-year stint with United, Sheringham returned to Tottenham for two years before spending 12 months at Portsmouth and then joining West Ham in July 2004.
His contract has 16 months to run and he is in line to break Strachan's record as the oldest outfielder to play in the Premier League before he hangs up his boots.
Midfielder Strachan was 40 years 73 days old when he made his last appearance for Coventry City in 1997.
''I will wait and see what happens at the end of next season before deciding what I want do,'' said Sheringham, already the Premier League's oldest goalscorer.
''I have enjoyed every club I have played for and not had a regret about joining or leaving them. I thought long and hard about each decision so that I would not have any regrets.'' Reuters SK RS0759