Courtois: France Still Strong

Laurent Courtois insists that the French league is as strong as the English one - and France's dismal showing in the World Cup finals has not changed his mind.

France's surprise exit from the competition has certainly lessened their standing in world football, but Laurent insists their domestic scene is a good one

"It is more physical in England but I don't think it is stronger than the French championship," he says. "Actually, in France we take more time to play whereas in the Premiership there is more energy and aggression.

"There are a lot of international players in our squad but the league is hard and it is different from France."

It may well be that the French side rebuilds after their failure in Korea and Japan - which could clear the way for Fredi Kanoute to get a look in.

That would delight his good friend Laurent, who insists that, despite continual rumours, Fredi is happy at Upton Park.

"I would like him to stay and I think he will, but of course you never know in football - however, there is no doubt he is enjoying himself at West Ham," he says.

As for his own situation, he says: "I wish I had played more in the last part of the season. With what I did in the first part I thought I would have had more of a chance - but it was not the case.

"I definitely think I can do well in the Premiership."

He certainly has no thoughts of leaving himself, and says: "Glenn has told me he is keeping me in the squad so I don't have a choice at the moment. I am going on holiday and I will come back in July unless a better solution is found for me and the club.

"I am very happy but I have to play more because that is what I need, and if something better comes during the holiday I will have a talk with Glenn and see what is best for me and the club - but I think I will be here, and that is what I hope.

"I am really looking forward to next season and hope Glenn will think about me. He told me I am still in his plans but he cannot promise that I will play more because it depends on injuries and things like that.

"That is my disappointment because I am not the kind of player who wants to wait on injuries, but I will work hard in the summer and we will see what will happen in July."