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West Ham defender still undecided about future at the club

PUBLISHED: 14:30 15 January 2019

Arsenal's Alex Iwobi (centre) battles for the ball with West Ham United's Mark Noble (left) and Pablo Zabaleta during the Premier League match at London Stadium.

Arsenal's Alex Iwobi (centre) battles for the ball with West Ham United's Mark Noble (left) and Pablo Zabaleta during the Premier League match at London Stadium.

PA Wire/PA Images

Hammers full-back Pablo Zabaleta is in great form, but says it is too early to decide his future

Arsenal's Sead Kolasinac (centre) and West Ham United's Angelo Ogbonna battle for the ball during the Premier League match at London Stadium.Arsenal's Sead Kolasinac (centre) and West Ham United's Angelo Ogbonna battle for the ball during the Premier League match at London Stadium.

While the plaudits went to birthday boy Declan Rice on Saturday, there was another West Ham player celebrating many happy returns this week.

Pablo Zabaleta is at the other end of his career and as he turned 34 today (Wednesday) he says it is too early to decide on his future at the club.

“I haven’t made any decisions yet,” said the Argentinian after West Ham’s superb 1-0 win over Arsenal.

“I am enjoying my football, but I will be 34 this week!

West Ham's Pablo ZabaletaWest Ham's Pablo Zabaleta

“For me it is about still enjoying it and at the right moment I will sit down with the club and decide what to do next.”

Zabaleta certainly played his part in Saturday’s victory, putting in a great shift in defence and down the by-line which hurt Arsenal.

“I am happy at West Ham,” he insisted. “It is a club with such great potential, but at the moment we are in January and it is too early to decide.”

Back-up full-back Ryan Fredericks is due to return to full training this week, but it is Zabaleta who holds the shirt and he may well want to keep it next season.

Pablo Zabaleta wins a header against WatfordPablo Zabaleta wins a header against Watford

“I want to make the right decision,” he continued.

“I am probably not in my prime, but I think I am still good enough to do the job. I don’t want to be selfish with the decision. If I believe I can’t give 100 per cent then I will walk away, but it is too early to make that deciaion.”

Zabaleta has played 56 games in claret and blue, just one more than young Declan Rice, and it is that mixture of experience and youth that has been so valuable to West Ham this season.

The Argentinian would be a huge loss if he were to go at the end of the season, while another whose contract is up then is Samir Nasri, who made a great Premier League debut for the Hammers against Arsenal.

“He looks all right,” said his former Manchester City team-mate. “It was his first Premier League game and it was against Arsenal.

“I think the intensity of the game was a bit different to the Birmingham match, but he looked all right.

“He is one of those players who we know that on the ball he is a different class.

“The reason he is here with us is because we lost Manuel Lanini. Jack Wilshere was one of those who would have come in, but he is injured, so now having Samir in the team is great for us.”

When fellow Argentinian international Lanzini returns to fitness, it may be more difficult to fit Nasri in, but the manager has said he can play in a number of different postions.

Two over-30s still showing they can cut it at this level and there is no reason why they can’t do it again next season.

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