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2013-06-07T06:00:00 Updated 2015-02-19T00:33:37

Adrian keen to emulate pal Reina

New West Ham United goalkeeper Adrian is hoping to emulate his friend Pepe Reina by becoming a success in the Barclays Premier League.

The Hammers' capture from Spanish Primera Division side Real Betis Balompie would love nothing more than to follow in the footsteps of Reina, who has accomplished great things since joining Liverpool in 2005.

Adrian hails from the city of Seville the southern province of Andalusia, just 75 miles from Reina's family home in Cordoba, and the 26-year-old revealed that the Reds stopper has supported his career since the pair met in Madrid in the summer of 2012.

"Pepe Reina is also from Andalusia and his family is from Cordoba," explained Adrian, who will join West Ham on a free transfer on 1 July. "I bumped into him in Madrid and we talked about goalkeeping.

"He did a brilliant thing when I made my first-team debut of sending me a text and congratulating me, which was very touching."

A tall and powerful figure, Adrian earned a reputation in Spain for his dominating and agile displays between the posts for newly-promoted Betis.

Indeed, his outstanding displays helped the Seville club to qualify for the UEFA Europa League in their first season back in the Primera Division.

However, when asked what his best characteristics as a goalkeeper are, Adrian himself chose to keep his cards close to his chest.

"I'm not one for blowing my own trumpet and I'm of the opinion that being a 'keeper is just one area of a team. A game of football is teamwork.

"The fans will have an opportunity to make their own thoughts on how they rate me as a 'keeper, but I will just be going in and doing my work on a daily basis and putting my best into everything for the team."

Unlike in England, it is not unusual for a player to wait patiently for a first-team debut with his club, as he has the opportunity to play professionally for their B or C teams in the lower divisions.

That was the case with Adrian, who spent six seasons with Betis B before earning his call-up last season.

"It was always my dream to play for Betis since I joined the club as a ten-year-old," said the goalkeeper, whose father Manolo is a big Betis fan. "My dream was always the first team and I've been strong and patient because I knew the opportunity would come.

"I had to be both mentally and physically prepared for when that opportunity arrived so I could grab it. That opportunity came last year against Malaga and I made sure that once it came, there was no turning back.

"I'm a home-grown boy and Betis is my family's club and my club."

Adrian's loyalty and hard work paid off when he was handed his first call-up to the senior squad for the visit of UEFA Champions League qualifiers Malaga on 29 September 2012. After just eleven minutes, regular No1 Casto was sent-off and the rookie was thrown into the action.

While ten-man Betis lost the game 4-0, the new goalkeeper impressed sufficiently to start the next league game at home to Real Sociedad, where he kept a clean sheet in a 2-0 victory.

By the end of the campaign, Adrian had kept eleven clean sheets in 32 appearances and inspired Betis to home wins over Real Madrid, Malaga, Valencia and Real Sociedad.

"I had two highlights of the season. The first was receiving my first call-up to travel with the first-team squad for the match at Malaga. Unfortunately for him, my colleague was sent-off and I made my debut.

"The other highlight at the same level was when I made my home debut [against Sociedad] and the reaction of the fans seeing one of them and singing my name was amazing."

Having enjoyed such a close relationship with the Betis supporters, Adrian is excited about the prospect of performing in front of an equally passionate West Ham fanbase.

"I knew about West Ham being one of England's legendary clubs. It's a very historical team and I am aware of the home-grown players like Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand and Joe Cole.

"What took me back was when I made my first visit to the Club and seeing the historical background of Club in players like Bobby Moore and Sir Trevor Brooking. They are part of the Club's history.

"With the help of everybody, I will give it my best shot to become one of those players who West Ham fans remember for years to come."

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