The unsung Hammers player


Fabianski and Areola

Alphonse Areola has been the unsung Hammers player this campaign after taking over the No 1 spot from Lukasz Fabianski. That’s quite an achievement given that the Pole is considered good enough, even at his advanced years, to be worth another year’s deal. Fair play to Alphonse as he was forced to wait for his chance for a season and a bit before David Moyes promoted him.

The 30-year-old has already won five league titles and 13 other domestic cups between his time with Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid and the Hammers keeper has become one of the biggest winners currently active in the game.

Now he has also won a European medal via the Conference which was missing from his trophy cabinet before he joined the Irons . He has made a very impressive start to his time as no 1 keeper and is set to feature at Arsenal this evening after recovering from injury

He is a very happy Hammer and believes the club’s success comes down to the spirit among the squad as they bid for more honours.

And talking ahead of tonight’s game he said: We have started the season very well. We’ve done really well in Europe and in the Premier League as well.

In football, nothing is certain or done. You have to compete every single day, both on the pitch and on the training ground. I’ve always said that, as a player, you can only give the best you can. The most important thing is always the team and the results we can get.

You saw it last season when we won the European trophy, and just how happy the whole squad was. Everyone was happy to be involved, in that regard, and it shows just how important the team spirit is. The UEFA Europa Conference League trophy is very special to me.

When I signed here, the first thing I heard from the Club and the manager was that the team wanted to compete in Europe, and that was what showed me this was where I wanted to be. I wanted to try and win trophies, and I was able to which made me very happy,

As goalkeepers, you get used to the situation that only one of you can play.

You are sharing one spot in the team but we are all professionals. We all have our experiences and our titles we’ve won, but we all have to put our talents into helping the team.

As I say, the team is the most important. You all want to play, of course, but football requires everyone in the team to be pulling together.

I think I’ve shown in games that I’m reliable. If you’re not ready for games, not ready in your head or not good with your feet then you’re not going to stop the goals. That’s the most important thing for a footballer.

Looking back at the start of the season, it felt like things just happened naturally.

The two seasons I played here before this one, we had a European goalkeeper and a Premier League goalkeeper.

Just before our first Premier League game, the manager decided to put me in the team. We have to compete and give our best because, if I’m not ready or in form, then Łukasz [Fabiański] is here to push me and try to take that place. It’s the same for him as well and we try to make each other better.

We want to do well in every single competition.

When you’re a competitor, you just want to win titles. I have been lucky in my career because I’ve won a lot of trophies and titles, and I’m so proud of all of them.

Every time you play, you want to give everything you can to reach that feeling. You want to celebrate those winning moments with your teammates, your friends, the fans, and everyone at the Club.

We’ve shown in the last couple of years we can compete in every tournament. We reached the semi-finals of the Europa League, won the Europa Conference League, and now we’re into the knockout rounds of the Europa League again. We need to be ready for that.

In the other competitions, we just want to keep performing and get as far as we can.

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Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!"

Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon