Adrian speaking the right language

It is easy to forget but for a foreign player arriving in the Premier League, it is not just a different brand of football that they must adapt to. Adrian gave an insight into the cultural and linguistic differences they must also overcome when he visited Coventry University on 29 October to talk to students about the experience of life in English football for a player from Spain.

The goalkeeper, speaking at a special Q&A event to promote language learning, explained that communicating with his defenders did not come easy at first - in fact, as he confessed, on his first friendly appearance for West Ham United, he began issuing instructions in his native Spanish.

"My first reaction was to shout in Spanish until I got used to it," he told the students from the university's English and Languages department. "The first time, the words were coming out in Spanish - 'lo tienes a espalda', which means 'you've got a man on your shoulder'."

Adrian spoke about getting used to the different accents in a dressing room featuring everything from Joey O'Brien's Irish to Kevin Nolan's Scouse via Andy Carroll's Geordie, and shed light on the tools used to make life easier for the club's non-native speakers.

"Almost all the explanations are done by Powerpoint and visual tools," he said, adding that club staff are having lessons in Spanish and French also to facilitate communication. As for the worst English learner he has encountered at Chadwell Heath, that was Pablo Armero, the club's former Colombian defender, who, he revealed, spoke less of the language than his four-year-old son.

Adrian's wide-ranging talk also touched on football matters, including his admiration for the West Ham supporters - and fan culture in general in the English game. "Our stadium is always full," he told the students. "Any game in the Premier League is important - it's not just against the top teams as the fans still come and fill the ground against the bottom teams too. This is an impressive part of supporter culture here."

As for his favourite save that was his injury-time stop from Frank Lampard in last season's 0-0 draw at Chelsea - "I enjoyed this save so much" - and he also gave his thoughts on the belief running through Sam Allardyce's team this season.

"The big difference is the signings who've come in and brought a lot of quality to the team," he said. "We know what we're doing and we can play against any team - we've beaten Liverpool and Man City so we know whoever we face, if we play our best we can beat them."

*Photograph courtesy of Coventry University.