Cheikhou Kouyate reveals how El Hadji-Diouf was inspiration for West Ham transfer

West Ham midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate says El-Hadji Diouf was a big inspiration for him.

West Ham United midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate has told Premier League TV that El-Hadji Diouf was a big inspiration for his move to Upton Park.

Kouyate, 25, impressed in Belgium with Anderlecht over a number of years before making the move to West Ham last summer.

His debut Premier League campaign has been a superb one, contributing in midfield as well as in defence for Sam Allardyce's men.

In an interview with Premier League TV, Kouyate admitted that El-Hadji Diouf's move to the Premier League in 2002 was a big reason for his transfer to West Ham.

"El-Hadji Diouf made us dream," Kouyate said. "He was a big favourite of mine. He took Senegal to another level he made us believe. Other players with African roots, like [Didier] Drogba and [Patrick] Vieira made us dream and want to be successful."

Diouf burst onto the world scene in 2002, starring for Senegal in their remarkable run to the World Cup quarter-finals against all the odds.

Whilst he didn't have a great amount of success at Liverpool, Diouf did forge a strong career with Bolton, Blackburn, Leeds and Rangers in British football.

Since that World Cup, a host of Senegalese players have arrived in the Premier League. Ferdinand Coly, Papa Bouba Diop, Aliou Cisse, Salif Diao, Henri Camara and Khalilou Fadiga have all played in the top flight of English football from that Senegal World Cup squad, and 26 Senegal players have moved to the Premier League since their amazing World Cup campaign.

Kouyate's success this season will once again inspire a number of young Senegalese players in the future, but Diouf will always be seen as their star breakthrough player.

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