Romain Saïss’ journey to the Premier League is a fascinating one. The midfielder started out in amateur football and, through sheer determination, rose drastically to the summit of French football – Ligue 1.
Now he’s hoping the experience gained rising through the French leagues will serve him well at the top level of English football with Wolves.
Valence | 2004-11
I stayed seven years there, playing in an amateur league, and we won six titles in that time. I eventually left but it was a very good experience, it was the beginning of everything for me. I’ll never forget the club and I live near to the city, so it’s my club in my county.
Clermont | 2011-13
This was my first professional club in Ligue 2. I have a lot of friends at the club, a lot of people who helped me to become a professional player. It was an important club because it was my first experience at a high level and I only have positives memories of Clermont. It’s the second league in France so is very hard, very strong, but a lot of players stay there a long time because they have difficulty taking the next step to Ligue 1 because it’s even harder.
THE ONE REGRET
Le Havre | 2013-15
Le Havre is the club I have a regret from because we had a fantastic team and we fought for promotion but didn’t achieve it. We had a lot of players at the end of the season leave for Ligue 1 or the Premier League like Riyad Mahrez. We had the quality individually, but the problem was more as a collective, so it was a shame.
LIGUE 1 UNDERDOGS
Angers | 2015/16
This was my first experience in Ligue 1, the top league in France, and we did very well. We finished ninth, but after PSG we were the team which stayed the longest in the top three. That was fantastic for a club like Angers because they hadn’t been in Ligue 1 for 25 years – a long time. We were playing just to stay up but did very well. I liked the city and the people, and my family too, so it was fantastic.
WORLD CUP DREAM
Morocco | 2012-present
The dream I had when I was younger was to play for my national team. I’m lucky because I played at the World Cup after we’d waited since 1998 to get to one. Every time the coach calls me up it’s an honour for me and I hope I will win a trophy with Morocco because the people deserve to see their country have success in football.