Alphonse Areola: West Ham goalkeeper speaks about settling in at the club and Europa League campaign

Alphonse Areola is enjoying life at West Ham and hoping to play a key role for the Hammers this season.

Alphonse Areola of West Ham United reacts during the Carabao Cup Round of 16 match (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

On-loan West Ham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola says he feels involved at the club and happy to be helping the team during a special season.

The French goalkeeper joined the Irons this summer and even though he’s been playing second fiddle to Łukasz Fabiański admits to loving life and feeling important.

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West Ham will take on Rapid Vienna in tonight’s Europa League game and manager David Moyes is expected to hand Areola his sixth game of the season.

“The manager has given opportunities to the players who haven’t played that much, and I think everyone is involved in the objectives of the Club and we are here for that to help the team to try to reach our objectives,” Areola told the club’s website

“When we have the opportunity, we just enjoy playing and we are here for that, to try to give our best every time.

“I’m just working hard every day and trying to help the team, to give my best – and that’s it. With the opportunities I get, I just have to play well and help the team – that’s the thing.

“It’s been a good atmosphere every time I’ve played, so as the Gaffer said, it’s a bit of a shame that we will not have fans on Thursday, but we will have to deal with that.

“We heard a lot about the crowd and atmosphere here, but it’s like that and we’ll play the game and enjoy the game as much as we can.”

Alphonse Areola of Fulham fails to save a shot by Edinson Cavani of Manchester United (not pictured) (Photo by Phil Noble - Pool/Getty Images)

Alphonse Areola got his first taste of English football at Fulham last season but despite his heroics Fulham got relegated.

However, he’d done enough for David Moyes to bring him over to the London Stadium.

Areola, who has wasted little time in getting used to his new club, says the signing of fellow French international Kurt Zouma has been quite useful to him personally as they played together in the French youth teams.

He added: “I’ve known him for a while. We played together in the French youth teams before he signed.

“I knew that he would be a good player for us as well, who would help the team a lot, help the guys to win games and bring a good atmosphere to the group as well, and just help the team.”

The game against Rapid Vienna is a perfect opportunity for West Ham to bounce back from their weekend defeat to Wolves in the Premier League.

The Hammers haven’t lost a game in Europe this season and sit atop group H knowing very well that a win today will confirm them as group winners.

Key statistics ahead of West Ham v Rapid Vienna

  • West Ham and Rapid Vienna have met only once before tonight’s fixture and that was earlier this season with the Hammers wining  2-0. 
  • Excluding qualifiers, English teams are unbeaten in their last 27 European matches against Austrian sides (W22 D5) since Arsenal lost 1-0 to FK Austria Wien in the 1991/92 European Cup.
  • West Ham are on a brilliant run in Europe having won three and drawn one of their first four games in the Europa League this season. They last had a longer undefeated run in major UEFA European competition between March 1965 and March 1966, a streak of nine that included winning the 1965 Cup Winners’ Cup final.
  • Said Benrahma has scored three goals in two UEFA Europa League starts this season for West Ham – the last Hammers player to score more in a single major UEFA European season was David Cross in 1980/81 (six in the Cup Winners’ Cup).