How much have the younger players impressed you during pre-season?
“I think we know some of them already. Jimmy Garner, I think is a really good player, I really like him and the way he kicks the ball. He’s really aggressive off the ball too. [Anthony] Elanga was already playing with us and this pre-season he has been brilliant. He’s a nice kid, works hard and is really humble and I think he’s deserving of everything that’s happening to him. I see a brilliant future for him and Jimmy too, and also for all the other kids.”
If you perform in pre-season then you can really put yourself in the mind of the manager and coaches. Anthony seems to be doing that…
“More than performing, he’s training hard. Since last season when he came to the first team he has been training really hard and, as I said, being very, very humble. The way he trains and treats the people is really important to be part of the first team and that’s why he’s deserving of every chance he gets and every performance he has put in.”
How much excitement is there around new signings – do the players get as excited as the fans?
“Of course – when you see the names that are coming and what they have done in the last few seasons. We are really happy with everyone that is coming in and of course to keep the lads who have been here the last few seasons is important because you have to grow up and at the same time you have to keep the same players to know we are doing better and better. With this team, we know we can do better, but adding some players to the team helps the team be better.”
You know what it’s like to join mid-season. Will it be easier for the new signings to settle in now?
[Smiles] “That’s the problem because they will arrive almost at the same time I did in terms of I trained two days and played straightaway! I think it’s always difficult to change country and change club, it doesn’t matter when you come. I was also lucky to play one game against Wolves and then we had five days off [matches] and one week in Marbella [for the winter training camp in 2020] and it was nice time to meet the lads and get to know them, so I was lucky at the same time. It’s also difficult to come to a new club, but at the same time you come to a big club and you are excited to play and being part of the team is always big. So I don’t think there are many changes from joining in January to July.”