Fab Zab ready to grab opportunity

  • by Staff Writer
  • Thursday, 19th September 2019

Veteran full back Pablo Zabaleta has admitted that he's taking in every moment of his final season before calling time on his playing career.

The 34-year-old has featured just twice so far this season - against Newport in the Carabao Cup and as an emergency substitute at Aston Villa on Monday night following the dismissal of Arthur Masuaku - having reverted to understudy for first choice right back Ryan Fredericks.

And in an interview with West Ham's website, he revealed that he was just happy to involved with the first team squad at this late stage of his career.

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"This will be my last season in England, so I'm just enjoying every training session, every single minute on the pitch," said Zaba. "There are plenty of games this season, so I need to be ready for every opportunity. The whole team has to be ready and fit.

"As a player, you want to be in the starting eleven in every game - but when you are on the bench, you have to support the players who are playing at that moment.

"As I said before the start of the season, I'm pleased to see Ryan [Fredericks] play. He's 26, he's got the energy and he's got the legs to play most of the games this season.

"I'll be ready to play when he needs a rest or when the manager needs me. Like in the last game, when Arthur got sent off - I was probably the only one who could come on and play as a left-back.

"You have to be ready for those moments; you just give your best for the team."

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Zabaleta, who replaced Felipe Anderson with just 20 minutes of Monday night's goalless draw with Aston Villa remaining also maintained that taking a point from the game was a positive - despite the newly-promoted side having begun the evening in the bottom three of the Premier League.

"Even though we went down to ten men we kept going forward and kept trying to win the game," he added. "It was a very good point.

"Of course it was a shame we couldn't get three points as we always play to win whether we're at home or away. We had a couple of good chances in the last ten, 15 minutes of the game.

"It was a massive point and now we've got another big game coming on Sunday, so we need to be ready to have another good performance and hopefully a big win."

Zabaleta's substitute appearance on Monday night was the 68th occasion on which he has pulled on a claret and blue shirt since signing from Manchester City on a free transfer in the summer of 2017.

He is expected to secure a coaching role once his playing career finishes at the end of the current campaign.

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