Alphonse Areola has a double ambition this season, to keep West Ham in the Premier League and become France’s number one goalkeeper.
Areola has been West Ham’s cup keeper for the last 18 months, but an injury to first-choice Lukasz Fabianski means he has been thrust into the relegation battle.
He will line up against Aston Villa on Sunday with the Hammers just a point above the relegation zone heading into the weekend.
Meanwhile, Hugo Lloris’ retirement from international duty means there is a vacancy to become France’s number one.
Areola, who was in France’s World Cup squad but did not get onto the pitch, said: “It’s quite good timing – but obviously I don’t want anyone having bad luck or a bad injury, I’m not like that.
“For me obviously personally, it’s quite good timing to have more minutes and to try to get into the national team.
“Unfortunately for Lukasz, he had a bad injury and it didn’t look good but I had to be ready. I am working every day on the pitch to be ready and to help the team.
“I’m quite experienced now, I’m 30. I had this situation earlier in my career and I’m just more mature now. The most important thing for me is the team right now. We want to play, we are competitors, but everyone wants to play in the Premier League and on the big stage.
“I’ve just kept my focus on my training and that’s the main thing that helped me to be focused when the manager gave me the opportunity.
“For me, I’ve always worked hard, it’s something that’s not easy to do but it’s natural to go onto the pitch and be ready when they come.”
Areola kept a clean sheet as West Ham continued their Europa Conference League run with a 2-0 win over AEK Larnaca in Cyprus.
Michail Antonio scored both goals to put the Hammers on the brink of the quarter-finals ahead of next week’s home leg.
Published: by Radio NewsHub