Razvan Rat is hopeful of making his eagerly-awaited Barclays Premier League debut at Southampton on Sunday 15 September.

The Romania captain, who is currently away on international duty with his country, has remained patient following his summer switch from Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk, where he was an automatic starter for nearly a decade.

In an insightful interview with Shakhtar's official website, the No8 explained that he knew he would have to wait for his chance in the Barclays Premier League, but now feels ready to contribute against the Saints.

"Perhaps my debut will take place after my return from international duty," said the left-back. "I am ready to take the field in matchday four, the away game against Southampton. At least I hope so.

"Recently, the Irishman Joey O'Brien played in my position. Generally, he is a right-back, but due to the fact that last season, the main left-back [George McCartney] had his cruciate ligaments damaged, O'Brien was moved to the opposite flank. In principle, West Ham finished the last season well and the manager decided to leave Joey on the left flank in the opening rounds of this league edition.

"Even before the start of the season, Sam Allardyce told me that in the opening rounds he will not field me in the starting lineup. This is normal. He wanted me to feel the atmosphere of the English Premier League. Still, it's a new league for me and a totally different level. The coach explained to me that I should first get a feel for the English Premier League, and then he will field me."

While he has had to wait for his chance in the Barclays Premier League, Rat did make his first-team bow in the Capital One Cup second-round victory over Cheltenham Town.

Off the pitch, he is also enjoying life in England, having quickly integrated himself into the tight-knit West Ham squad.

"Basically , everything is just as I expected it to be. I'm fine here in England. Adaptation is painless. In everyday terms, there are absolutely no problems. We live on the outskirts of London. A very nice place. You could even say that we live in the woods! Nature, fresh air and no fuss. Not far from the stadium. It takes me about 15 to 20 minutes by car to reach Upton Park. Currently, I am getting used to the left-hand drive.

"West Ham is a very friendly team. All the guys were very open and they helped me in every way to integrate. Of course, my knowledge of the English language helped me to quickly blend in with the team. A foreigner always finds getting used to life in a new country easier if he or she speaks the language of the local people. I already speak five languages​​: Russian, English, Spanish, Portuguese and, of course, the Romanian language.

"Basically, I have a good relationship with all the guys, but I communicate more with the team captain Kevin Nolan. Also, I have developed a friendly relationship with Joe Cole. He and I shared a room during the pre-season training camp."

While club success is on his mind, Rat also has international commitments to fulfil. Romania sit third in a hotly-contested Group D ahead of home matches with Hungary and Estonia on 6 and 10 September respectively.

With the Netherlands seven points clear at the top, the national-team captain believes Romania are battling Hungary and Turkey for a Play-Off place.

"At this stage, the group's top spot issue has already been resolved. Now, the three teams are fighting for the second spot. A lot will depend on the matches with Hungary and Turkey. Now all our thoughts are about the first encounter. Our nearest rivals currently sit in second spot, being one point ahead of us. Only a win will be fine for us. We need to win, to get past the major rival in the standings and then, in the fight for the knockout stage berth, everything will depend on us alone."

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