Rai: Thanks, Dj

Raimond van der Gouw says he owes the man he will be understudying at Upton Park a debt of gratitude.

"I'd like to work together with David James; he recommended me to the boss as the number two - and I am very glad that he helped me," says the club's latest acquisition.

He says he understands that David is the first choice, and adds:

"You have to see it in a different way; I will enjoy coming to West Ham, though as a sportsman you are always looking to play games, and it is the same for me.

"But I know my role, and what I have to do, and there is no problem to be David James' understudy."

Coventry City tried to sign Raimond, who adds:

"I feel sorry for Coventry because they tried to do everything for me to give me a good contract, and I hope they will find the right man to 'replace' me.

"But I'm very happy to be coming here; West Ham is playing in the Premiership and that was very important for me.

"That was one of the biggest reasons for my choice, and the whole package they offered me was very interesting."

Raimond confesses that departing Old Trafford will be a wrench, and says:

"It is a difficult club to leave; six years is a long time at a club like Manchester United, but there is a time to come and there is a time to go.

"You never know how it goes in football, but I am happy with the contract I have and I am looking forward to the new season."

Although he has left a club with annual title ambitions, he insists:

"I think you have to work very hard; seventh place is very good but we need to try and go a little bit higher, and go for a trophy.

"I think the club knows exactly what it can do; you have to be ambitious to end up as high as possible."

The former Vitesse Arnhem keeper does have a memory of playing aginst the Hammers, and recalls:

"I think I played about four years ago against West Ham - and they lost!"