During the club’s official media day, he shows off his moves to the assembled broadcasters. We ask him if he’s enjoying himself. “Meh,” he says, smiling. “I don’t love it – there’s no good music, nothing. It’s too quiet, you know!”
Pre-match, the issue is more in his control. He doesn’t control the playlist, but he isn’t afraid to make his opinions known.
“The pre-match music every time is the same player: it’s Wilfried Zaha,” he reveals. “He takes the music. Sometimes he picks the good music, and sometimes it’s not such good music.
“Too many times he picks the good music. It’s anything, Afrobeat, African music, United States music. He’s like an international DJ! He’s not bad.
“We also have Jamie [Goldsmith], the gym coach. Sometimes he does the music. It’s not bad at all…he tries his best.”
It sums up Kouyate’s irrepressible personality. Jairo Riedewald and Eberechi Eze recently agreed – they named him the funniest member of the first-team squad.
“For me, I like Cheikhou Kouyate,” Riedewald said. “I think he’s the funniest, definitely. The way he comes in every morning, he’s just happy. A good energy: positive, laughing.
“The way he speaks English, his body language. His comments – the way he comments when someone says something. I don’t think he realises he’s funny, but in my eyes he’s funny.”
But behind the jokes is a determined and dedicated professional. His preparation on a matchday has remained the same for a long time, and starts long before the team arrives at the stadium.
“For me, my game starts with everything before,” Kouyate explains. “When I wake up, my game has started. Thinking, hoping you’re going to have a good game. Hoping we’re going to win the game. That’s the thing.
“It’s the same way for every match. I come in, I do my kit, I do my prayers. I ask God for the win, and pray that nobody will get an injury – myself or any other player also. I always do the same.”