Bonjour at last to West Ham’s Mr nice Guy and his bright green boots
Hammers new boy Guy Demel finally made his debut for the club at Middlesbrough on Tuesday night
It has taken him over three months to get on the pitch, but for West Ham defender Guy Demel, his debut at Middlesbrough on Tuesday night was well worth waiting for.
“It has been a long while,” said the smiling Ivory Coast international following the Hammers’ 2-0 win at the Riverside.
“My last game was in April for Hamburg. I suffered the injury at the start of the season and I have been trying to get fit ever since.
“It has been frustrating, so I am happy just to get on the pitch and get the chance to play.”
The experienced 30-year-old defender, who made over 100 appearances for Hamburg, made a confident debut and he is now looking to push his fitness on.
“My fitness is okay,” he said. “I felt tired towards the end, so I need to do more training. It is just a matter of time and hard work, but I was pleased with today.”
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He should be. Demel not only looked solid in defence, but also found time to get forward and link up with Julien Faubert on the right.
Many had suggested that he would play at centre half for the Hammers, but he was quick to point out his best position.
“I have spent the last three years at right back,” he said.
“Even for the Ivory Coast I play there. I have worked on playing in that position and I feel very comfortable there.
“When I am fitter, I can play in different positions. At Hamburg I play right back, but also centre back and centre midfield.
“It worked well between me and Julien, but it could be better.
“I like to go forward, that is the way I played when I was with Hamburg, but I don’t forget that my first job is to defend.”
Demel has played at the top level in Germany, so how does the Championship compare in terms of style of play?
“There is a difference,” he said. “The game is much faster, the teams like to play the ball very quickly up to the front and the referee doesn’t stop the game too much, so you don’t have too much break.
“But football is football, it is all about kicking the ball and so it is the same also.”
The African defender is now hoping to show what he can do in front of his own fans against Burnley on Saturday.
“I am looking forward to playing at Upton Park,” he said.
“I will be working very hard up until Saturday, so I am hoping to get the opportunity.
“I know it is not easy to get into this team. We have a good squad, there are a lot of good players in the team and some that are not even in the team at the moment. I hope if I get my chance I will use it well.”
So what does Demel make of West Ham’s current position?
“I think we are in a very good position. We are in second and we have most of our players back from injury,” he said.
“I think the squad is very strong right now and the way we are playing with such confidence I think we can do something good. It is easy to say that though and we have to prove ourselves every week.”
Demel stood out on Tuesday in his bright green boots, but he laughs when they are mentioned.
“As long as I get my chance on Saturday, maybe I will wear black shoes,” he exclaimed.