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Wednesday 29 August Updated Thursday 19 February

Van the man!

Modibo Maiga believes he is ready to make a big impact in the Barclays Premier League after opening his account for West Ham United.

The summer arrival from FC Sochaux-Montbeliard notched his first goal in English football in Tuesday's 2-0 Capital One Cup second-round victory over Crewe Alexandra.

Maiga's second-half strike highlighted an eye-catching display that saw him test goalkeeper Alan Martin on numerous occasions, hold the ball up superbly and work extremely hard in his lone centre-forward role.

Having got off the mark for his new club, the 24-year-old is looking forward to finding the net on a regular basis in a claret and blue shirt.

"I've very happy to score my first goal for the club," confirmed the Mali international. "It's very important both for myself and for the confidence of the club.

"I hope to score a lot more goals for West Ham in the future."

The majority of West Ham supporters would have seen little of Maiga prior to his move to east London, save for a few clips on the YouTube website.

However, after making substitute appearances in the Hammers' opening two Barclays Premier League matches, the new No11 was able to show off his full repertoire of skills in Tuesday's victory.

A strongly-built figure blessed with both the ability to hold up play and a neat turn of pace, Maiga produced an all-action display against the Railwaymen.

Modibo Maiga

Modibo Maiga opens his account for West Ham United

Maiga was involved in Nicky Maynard's opening goal before scoring himself after Kevin Nolan's shot was pushed out by Martin. After his goal, Maiga volleyed one chance over, saw two headers deflected narrowly wide and tested the goalkeeper with a pair of rasping late shots from the edge of the penalty area.

When asked if his midweek performance had been a typical one, Maiga nodded positively in the affirmative.

"Of course, scoring my first goal was great and I was happy to contribute to the victory. I really, really want to do well here and have real determination to be successful with West Ham.

"I came here to play a big role in the Premier League. I feel like I am ready to contribute now."

At present, Maiga speaks limited English, but he is receiving regular lessons and is able to communicate with his new team-mates more and more every day.

For now, though, his acclimatisation to life in London is being aided by the club's three other native French speakers - Mohamed Diame, Alou Diarra and Guy Demel.

"It helps greatly to have people like Mo, Alou and Guy around. We spend a lot of time together off the pitch and communicate a lot together. It certainly does help when it comes to settling into life in England."

Finally, Maiga was asked about his mysterious nickname 'Van', which has confused the coaching staff and players ever since his arrival at the Boleyn Ground in July.

"Everyone in Mali who has the name Modibo has the nickname 'Van' - it's as simple as that!"

Now that confusion has been cleared up, Maiga can concentrate on what he clearly does best - leading the line and scoring goals!

Fulham updated

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