Friday, January 18, 2008
Faubert: England was Cantona for me
Bruno Salla and Benjamin Adler
Ruled out for six months just two weeks after he signed from Ligue 1's Bordeaux to the Hammers, Julien Faubert has finally played his first Premier League game. The Frenchman talked with ESPNsoccernet about his comeback.
You played your first game with West Ham against Fulham last weekend after recovering from a lengthy injury. How did you enjoy the comeback ?
First of all, I haven't felt any pain and that is the most important thing. I had good feelings. Now, I need to work on my physical shape because I lost some muscular strength.
The football I discovered is the English one I tasted when I played against Liverpool with Bordeaux; with many duels and oppositions. It's much faster than in France. There is also more space and I'm going to enjoy that. There is room to have fun and express the best of yourself.
The team is retrieving the injured players step by step. We can't say that the club has been lucky so far with last summer's signing, including myself. Kieron Dyer broke his leg, Bellamy had abdominal surgery, Scott Parker has been out for few weeks and me, it has been six months. With everyone fit, we can compete for a UEFA Cup spot.
You were injured two weeks only after you signed. You couldn't imagine a worst scenario.
Indeed. It was only my second pre-season game with my new team. I was looking forward to discovering the stadium and then I got injured. I was devastated. I knew it would happen one day because I'd had issues with my two tendons for the last year. My luck, if I can say that, is that I'd already had two serious injuries when I was in Cannes. Two surgeries to each leg with five months missing. I was between 18 and 20 years old.
Did you start doubting yourself after the injury ?
When you start running and you feel your leg is weaker than before, you wonder if you are going to be able to get back at your best. But the club didn't put any pressure on me and left me 'carte blanche' for the surgery. In the French team I spoke once with Florent Sinama-Pongolle, who explained to me that in England, there is a general tendency to separate injured players from the group. But in West Ham, I landed in a cocoon.
Let's talk about your departure from Bordeaux. Nothing has been simple. Why ?
Indeed, it hasn't been simple at all. I had to miss training to be heard. I feel guilty to have left the way I did, but I had been there for three years, we won the League Cup, played in the Champions League and a new trainer was arriving (former Manchester United defender and 1998 World Cup winner Laurent Blanc). A new cycle was starting and I wanted to go elsewhere and live something new.
Why did you chose West Ham, not a traditional Premier League giant?
West Ham is a historic club in England, one of the best supported in London. I called David Bellion, who played there, before signing to have some information. I wanted to come in England.
For me, England is Cantona, the respect of the fans, the explosion of joy after a goal. In France I loved playing in Marseille or Saint-Etienne in front of passionate fans. That lifted me. When I discovered Upton Park for the first time, against Sunderland (3-1, October 21), I was amazed. It was crazy. They also play football for this kind of emotion.
In only two years, you came from the third division to the national team. Did it go too fast for you?
No, I don't think so. I didn't really perfectly deal with some situations at some times but I never became big-headed like it has been said. I know where I come from.
Today, I am a privileged person, I am lucky enough to do my passion for a living and bring some confort to my family. I didn't have that luck when I was young. But maybe I have been overestimated too fast and also criticized too quickly.
Since your first call in the French team against Bosnia in August 2006, you have never played again for the national squad. How do you explain that?
I haven't been consistent enough in Bordeaux I guess. If you want to be in the French team, you have to be consistent and not have ups and downs. I've seen the level needed to be up there: winning needs to be automatic.
I have to improve my consistency, be more decisive. I hope to be called again one day soon. Being there is to belong to the best of the French football.
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