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West Ham keeper so glad to be back and keeping clean sheets

PUBLISHED: 14:10 01 May 2017 | UPDATED: 14:20 01 May 2017

Stoke City's Marko Arnautovic makes an attempt at goal during the Premier League match at the bet365 Stadium, Stoke.

Stoke City's Marko Arnautovic makes an attempt at goal during the Premier League match at the bet365 Stadium, Stoke.

PA Wire/PA Images

Hammers number one Adrian spoke after the 0-0 draw at Stoke City

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - APRIL 29: West Ham United's Adrian during the Premier League match between Stoke City and West Ham United at Bet365 StadiumSTOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - APRIL 29: West Ham United's Adrian during the Premier League match between Stoke City and West Ham United at Bet365 Stadium

It was against Stoke City back in November that West Ham keeper Adrian’s career stalled.

He has been called up to the Spain squad and was the regular number one for the Hammers, but a bad mistake against the Potters at the London Stadium saw him out in the cold as Darren Randolph took over the bright orange jersey.

But now it has turned full circle. The Spanish stopper is back in goal and in his second game at Stoke City on Saturday, he managed his second clean sheet.

Two games, two clean sheets, it’s easy this Premier League football isn’t it?

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - APRIL 29: West Ham United's Adrian during the Premier League match between Stoke City and West Ham UnitedSTOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - APRIL 29: West Ham United's Adrian during the Premier League match between Stoke City and West Ham United

He grins and shakes his head: “No, no, it is never easy, it is always difficult,” he said. “We have come out like a solid team and we have defended very well, not just the keeper and the defence, but it has to start from the striker.”

There were times when Adrian must have thought he was never going to get back in. His two games since that Stoke clash had seen him let in four at Manchester United in the league cup and another five in the FA Cup against Manchester City.

“It was very difficult not being in the team,” admitted the 30-year-old. “Professional footballers always want to play and it was very hard for me not to play in the last few months.

“But at the end of the day, we are a team and the manager gave Darren a chance to play and now it is another opportunity for me and I have to try and take it.”

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - APRIL 29: West Ham United's Adrian during the Premier League match between Stoke City and West HamSTOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - APRIL 29: West Ham United's Adrian during the Premier League match between Stoke City and West Ham

He has certainly done that in these last two games. Last week against Everton he didn’t have a shot to save, but commanded his box well, while there was plenty to do at the Britannia at the weekend.

He made one fine save from Xherdan Shaqiri, a similar shot to one Randolph let in against Leicester City. He then parried away Saido Berahino’s effort, before the most important save of them all.

“It was more of a reaction save from (Marko) Arnautovic,” he said. “I touched it with my chest and the ball went back to him and I tried to touch it with my hands to keep the ball away from his head.”

It was a fine effort from point blank range and it kept Stoke at bay as the home side went in search of a winner.

“I feel very good,” said the Spanish keeper after the 0-0 draw. “I was always working hard to get back into the team, so I am glad to back in the team for this game and also to keep a clean sheet.

“It is very difficult to keep a clean sheet in the Premier League, there are many good strikers, but the last two games we have kept them out.”

Clean sheets have certainly been tough this season for the Hammers, even with these last two shut-outs they have managed just nine in the league all season.

Adrian has certainly helped with that and he felt that the team should have won the match.

“I think we were a bit unlucky that we didn’t score and get the three points,” he said. “It was a bit open in the first half and we had some good chances to score and then in the second half, both teams had their chances.

“But in the end it was a good Premier League game and in the end we have got another point.”

It must be so frustrating being a goalkeeper if you are not in the team. There is just one place in the starting line-up, while the back-up has to bide his time on the bench.

But it seems that Adrian and Randolph have not fallen out over their rivalry.

“Yes we are good friends,” said Adrian. “We work very hard every day, not just me and Darren by Rafa Speigel as well and we all have a great relationship.”

Manager Slaven Bilic said last week that this is not the time for big egos among the players. It seems the goalkeepers at West Ham have followed that to the letter.


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