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Dave Evans, West Ham Correspondent
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Hammers defender Guy Demel is looking beyond this coming season as he looks to re-establish West Ham as a Premier League club
West Ham defender Guy Demel will get the chance to play in the Premier League this season, but he is determined that it will not be a one campaign wonder – he is already looking to the future.
The likeable 31-year-old from the Ivory Coast had a year at Arsenal without ever making a first-team appearance, but he has played at the top level in Germany, first for Borussia Dortmund for who he played in the UEFA Cup final and then for Hamburg, so he knows what it takes.
“It will be exciting to play in the Premier League, but playing is one thing, but being good in the Premier League is another,” said Demel, who played in West Ham’s play-off final victory against Blackpool at Wembley.
“We want to be a part of it and we don’t want to get beaten every weekend, we want to do something in the league.
“Playing in the Premier League is easy, doing well in the Premier League is something different and that is where we want to go.”
Last season was frustrating at times for the full back and it is fair to say that fans have not seen the best of him yet.
He was injured soon after arriving at Upton Park last summer and in the end he managed 10 appearances in claret and blue.
This time however, he has gone through the whole of pre-season and he was quick to stress just how vital that is to him.
“It is really, really important for me,” said Demel. “The pre-season is the main thing for a footballer and without it, it is really hard to go through the season.
“I am really focused on this pre-season, and I know that if I have a good one, it will be easier for me in the Premier League.
“For me, I think I am doing well. I am able to run back and forth and for me it is most important to be fit because I know what I can do when I am. I now have to get the strength to go up and down the wing for 90 minutes.”
Demel has played at the top level in the Bundesliga, so what does he think of the West Ham squad as they prepare for their top flight battles?
“We have some players who played in the Premier League before and they know how hard it is,” said Demel. “I have played at a certain level too, so I know that it will be really difficult.
“It is going to be a tough season. We are playing against a lot of big teams, but every game is going to be like a final.
“But we will be prepared mentally and physically to face the competition.”
Survival is the first priority for West Ham this season, but the international defender is looking far beyond that.
“We are working hard. We want to stay in the league and we want to make sure that West Ham are playing in the Premier League the following season after that,” he added.
“All the effort we gave last season must not be wasted.”