Upton Park

Next Game

West Ham v Arsenal

Sunday, 28 December 2014, 15:00

Barclays Prem

Stamford Bridge

Last Game

Chelsea 2 - 0 West Ham

Friday, 26 December 2014, 12:45

Barclays Prem

Kouyate almost called it quits

West Ham midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate revealed his grandmother’s intervention stopped him from almost calling time on his football career as a teenager.

Last Updated: 15/08/14 at 22:54 Post Comment

Cheikhou Kouyate: Admits being in the Premier League is a dream

Cheikhou Kouyate: Admits being in the Premier League is a dream

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

The 24-year-old joined West Ham from Anderlecht over the summer and is in line to make his debut for his new side in Saturday's Barclays Premier League opener against London rivals Tottenham.

But Kouyate revealed his struggles with homesickness when he first moved to Europe almost resulted in him cutting short his career as a youngster.

"I left Senegal at the age of 17 - first to go to Greece, then to France, and then to Belgium," he said.

"It was so difficult that I wanted to go back to Senegal. But my grandmother on the telephone, the president of my club, my mum, they told me to stay put.

"After three months I really wanted to go back to Senegal and stop playing football. Because it was the first time I had left my country without my family, I had nothing and was completely on my own.

"It was really cold. It was the first time I had seen snow. It was tough. I asked for advice from my agent, my family, all the people who loved me. After that I told myself, 'Okay, I am going to stay put’.

"I was on my own a lot of the time, but I got used to it. It was then my mental strength began to increase, I became tougher.

"My mentality became very strong. Now I feel I can go anywhere. To play in England was a dream since I was a kid. It became an obsession - I knew I had to come, no matter what."

Kouyate has drawn comparisons with Senegal-born former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira and he knows he must persevere if he is to make his stay an England a successful one.

"I've fulfilled my dream to come here," he said. "I must not stop.

"I must work hard in training - suffer, even. I must continue to do good things. Words don't achieve anything. I have to show what I can do on the pitch.

"My main dream was to play in the Premier League. It's a very tough league and I used to follow it every week.

"I want to give my best to live my childhood dream and to try to progress, from day by day. To do that, I have to work hard. I don't have any fear about this new challenge."

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

really enjoyed this. Thanks F365 for another year of work avoidance - happy Christmas.

megabrow (cufc)
Our Person Of The Year: Alan Pardew

I

m no Sam Fan and this article sums him up beautifully. I always like to imagine that when he watches anything on TV and hears clapping, he stands up and aknowledges the applause, thinking its for him!

cozens
Football Managers On TV: Sam Allardyce

N

ah, Fergie is just having another pop at Rooney. He just wants to put him down whenever he gets a chance. Rooney is by far the best English player. Carrick is not far behind, mind. However, by elevating Carrick like that, Sir is having a dig at Wayne. Fergie is well-known for mind games like that. Good to see he's still feisty.

timbo
Van Gaal will thrive - Ferguson

Footer 365

Sky sources: Neil Warnock sacked by Crystal Palace after run of one win in 12 games

Neil Warnock has been sacked as manager of Crystal Palace, with Keith Millen placed in charge for Sunday's trip to QPR.

Rooney Enjoying 'Scholes' Role

Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney is revelling in his position as an attacking central midfielder, after he scored twice in the 3-1 victory over Newcastle at Old Trafford on Boxing Day.

Arsene Wenger admits Olivier Giroud deserved his red card for headbutting Nedum Onuoha

Arsene Wenger admits Olivier Giroud deserved his red card for headbutting Nedum Onuoha in Arsenal's 2-1 win over QPR.

Mail Box

Van Gaal's Half-Term Report Card...

One Man United fan isn't happy with the rate the team is progressing under Louis van Gaal, while the mailbox also wishes Liverpool fans a Merry Mid-Table Christmas...

Hang On, Rafa's Success Is No Fluke...

The afternoon mailbox kicks the morning mailbox's arse after claims that Rafa Benitez has fluked his success. Plus, big talk about Liverpool's progress and lots more...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property