Seb Celebrates St. Georges!

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As Sebastien Schemmel prepares to face an Arsenal side littered with Frenchmen at Highbury on Wednesday night, he says: "I feel English!"

Seb admits his reputation back in his homeland has been tarnished by his enthusiastic nature, whereas here it is embraced.

"Some journalists in France have a bad mentality," he says, "and it is strange to say, but when I played in France I had an English mentality, spoke with the ref every time, and did some tackles that they considered dangerous over there.

"But I play the same game in England and I am not considered crazy, and I want to win every time. The mentality there is s**t and the refs don't understand, but here, look at how it is with the fans and the atmosphere - I want it.

"It is not possible for me to return to France with that mentality. I want to be English, even though my passport is French.

"In France everybody says I am crazy, that I want to kill everybody, and I have a bad mentality, but just look at this season - everything is okay.

"I like the English people and the English mentality, because it is the same as mine, and I want to stay here a long time.

"Perhaps I will look to see if my grandfather is English, though the level of the national team is too high for me."

The high esteem he is held in by West Ham fans is evidenced by the fact that he picked up the Hammers News Magazine Player of the Season award on Saturday, and he admits: "I am very surprised to win because when I came here for the price I did, I think everyone thought I would be a reserve team player - but Glenn knows me and he is so intelligent because he got me so cheaply.

"But I'm very happy because it is from fans saying I am the best player this season, and that is the best thing for me, because if it is just journalists saying it, it is not the same.

"I am very proud not only for me but my family - my children are still in France - but it is not just my trophy.

"It is not my mentality to say it is just mine. It is the team's and Glenn's as well. My performances this season are because Glenn wanted me - he has been fantastic for me."

What is all the more remarkable, perhaps, is the fact that he received the accolade after arriving from Metz for a mere £465,000, and he adds: "Maybe at the start of the season that was my price and I don't want someone to say what it might be now, but I work so hard for Glenn, who knows all about me.

"He saw me 10 times in France and knew my quality, but I didn't. Now everybody in England knows me and I am very happy for that, and he has done a great job this season when everyone said we would finish at the bottom.

"I said to Glenn at the start of the season, 'look, if I play, I want you to tell me how I have been'."

Sebastien is hoping the team reproduces the form of Saturday at Highbury, and adds: "It was a fantastic game, especially as we were missing Fredi, and there was a doubt about Jermain before the game - not to mention Paolo not being there.

"So in one way I am surprised to win 3-0, and in another I'm not, because we have such good players - every player was taking some extra responsibility, like Trevor and Joe Cole, who had a fantastic game.

"It could have been four if Joe's goal hadn't been disallowed and five if Michael Carrick's had gone in, but now the most important thing is Wednesday's game - and I want to prove in every match I deserve my place."