Ilunga 'impatient' to get started

Herita Ilunga cannot wait to join up with the West Ham United squad after his deadline day move from Ligue 1 side Toulouse and show the Boleyn Ground faithful just what he can do.

The 26-year-old left-back, who has joined on a season's loan with a view to a permanent transfer, took time out from preparing for the Democratic Republic of Congo's World Cup qualifier against Egypt this weekend. "I am really happy to join West Ham. They're a major club and I am impatient to start working with my new team-mates and show the club and fans what I can do," he said.

Ilunga, who will wear the No3 shirt, is excited by the prospect of donning the claret-and-blue shirt shirt in the Premier League. He said: "It's a great opportunity to play in the best league in Europe and with a big club like West Ham."

He had a first taste of English football as part of the Toulouse side beaten by Liverpool in the Champions League third qualifying round at Anfield last year. "It was more fast and more frenetic," he remembered.

Ilunga, who started his professional career with Saint-Etienne, will be playing in front of an anticipated crowd of 80,000 in Kinshasa's Martyrs Stadium on Sunday when Congo DR take on African champions Egypt in a top-of-the-group qualifier for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

A place in the World Cup finals would be a dream come true for the club's fifth African signing and events this week have shown Ilunga that these things do happen. "It was a dream of mine to play in England," said the former France youth international of one ambition now realised.

And while he will not arrive in London until early next week, he has picked up one important piece of information about the Hammers already, saying: "I know they're a club with great fans."