Bournemouth winger Junior Stanislas has revealed how much his Christian faith means to him.
Stanislas, 26, came through the West Ham United academy system before gracing the Premier League and making England age-group appearances. But faith is more important than football for The Cherries’ playmaker.
He said: “It was through my mum I found Jesus, growing up she was a very strong Christian.
Junior Stanislas celebrates after scoring a goal
“I went to a Catholic school when I was young, so growing up I would hear lots of things and then I’d go home and my mum would teach me stuff from the Bible too.
“I went to church a lot when I was younger and so I’ve built up a bond with God and it’s grown from there really.”
The rigours of the Premier League schedule for Bournemouth means Stanislas is not able to be in church as much as he likes, but he finds strength in his friendships.
‘Every morning I wake up, I pray’ – Junior Stanislas
He added: “I do get to church, but not as much as I’d like. I probably should go more to be honest.
“You can put excuses in the way but I just don’t seem to go as much as before. At the club we have a chaplain that comes into the club who works at the local church. He comes in and takes prayer groups and does Bible studies sometimes, but I think I should definitely go more than I do now.
“There’s a few guys at the club. Benkn Afobe, Max Gradel and Marc Pugh are all strong Christian guys and sometimes we hang out and have a chat about our faith and do Bible studies.”
For Stanislas, faith is not just about football, though… it is a crucial part of his everyday life.
He said: “It means a lot, personally. Every morning I wake up, I pray.
“Obviously, I still do bad things as everyone does but I like to give it all to God.
“When I go out on the pitch, I make the sign of the cross and point to the skies when I score a goal.
“My faith means a lot to me and it’s helped me through the good and bad.
“If I score, I go down on my knees and point to the skies. I don’t do it for show, I do it so people might think, ‘Oh, why is he doing that?,’ and maybe people will ask questions about it. I try to use it to help open other people’s eyes.”