Zabaleta: The future is exciting for West Ham United
Pablo Zabaleta is already looking forward to the 2019/20 campaign after today putting pen-to-paper on a contract extension to take his spell with West Ham United to a third year.
The right-back has made a real impression during his two campaigns in Claret & Blue to date, making 65 appearances and becoming a vital part of Manuel Pellegrini’s squad with his professionalism and leadership standing out.
Following Saturday’s victory at Tottenham Hotspur, the Hammers sit just outside the top half of the Premier League table – a step forward from last season’s fight at the wrong end of the table – and Zabaleta is convinced the team can take another stride in the right direction next term.
The 34-year-old has seen players at the other end of their careers, like Declan Rice, Grady Diangana, Ben Johnson, Conor Coventry and Joe Powell make their mark on the first team next season, so he is in a good position to declare the future as looking bright.
He explained: “I said this when I first came to the Club that West Ham is a club with huge potential.
“We need to build a team around young players and they need to make this club better. This is our duty as a football player, we need to feel that everyone is enjoying playing for West Ham, that we’re playing in front of 60,000 fans every week, and the away support from West Ham fans is incredible too.
“Everyone has to feel proud and happy to play for this football club. The Club spent big last summer trying to bring in young players, I’m glad when I see young promising players come through at the Club and as I said, I hope I can see Declan Rice, Issa Diop, Felipe Anderson to be here for or four or five years.
“And I hope the Club can continue bringing in talent and developing players - I wish that West Ham can be a top 10 team every single season and why not try to fight for European places.”
I’m just still enjoying the game; I come in every morning and see the lads and train and play games, it’s something that is fantastic for me really.
For Zabaleta himself, he is delighted to be able to continue for another year at the highest level, as he still very much has the will to succeed and drive the club forwards.
He added: “I’m just still enjoying the game; I come in every morning and see the lads and train and play games, it’s something that is fantastic for me really.
“I know I need to be honest with myself, I know I’m coming to the end of my career now and I just need to probably start thinking about my future, but at the moment I don’t want to really think too much about this. I just want to focus on what we’re doing with the Club and with the team this season and be ready to go again next season, because I just want to enjoy every single moment.
“When you are in your thirties you need to have that role in the dressing room, where you need to help the young players who come from the Academy to continue to develop, to talk to them, to make them feel comfortable, to learn, listen to people, to the manager, to the players and I feel like I can do this. We’ve got a group of fantastic players and great lads and we’re enjoying being together."