New West Ham defender Issa Diop has talked about the biggest difference he has noticed since switching to the Premier League from Ligue 1 over the summer.
The 21-year-old, who made his debut with French side Toulouse at age 18 ahead of 76 more league outings, decided to test his mettle in England's top flight this season and admitted that he has already realised that the physicality is very different from what he became used to back in France.
“[The Premier League] is a championship where you have to be very, very strong in transition,” he told whufc.com.
“For me it's the biggest difference from France. Offensive players are all talented and very athletic, more than in France. There are not necessarily more physical battles but the players are faster and more beefy.”
Diop has settled in quickly, and it helped that he knew a bit of English before arriving in London.
“It's going very well, they are nice to me” he told local Toulouse newspaper La Depeche. “Before arriving I did not know them personally but I knew who they were because I watched football on TV.
“Speaking English is fine, too. I went to school so I use what I can remember!”
The Hammers centre-back, whose grandfather hails from Senegal, has played at every age level for France but there were suggestions he could hand his allegiance to the African nation. However, he has revealed that his dream is to play for Les Blues at senior level and he is hoping to get called up one day.
“It has always been a dream to play for France,” he declared. “If it happens, it happens, otherwise too bad!
“I have always said that I will only play for France and for no-one else. Whether I'm selected or even if I'm never selected with the seniors, I will not play for another country.
“I was born in France, it's France that I have everything for, so I do not see why I would play for another country."