May 5, 2012

Settling Into England

It was tough to settle down at first in the UK because in Holland, I was one of the fittest players for Feyenoord. But when I came here, I think the first four games I could only manage 60 minutes’ play and then I had to be taken off because I was too tired. I had to build up my fitness, to stay competitive and that was tough; it was very tough, I remember it was very, very hard.

There was one training session I remember well: we trained so hard in the morning and I went to Gordon’s office and I said ‘What we are doing this afternoon?’ He said, ‘Ha, we are training again at half-two,’ and I was like ‘wow, I am kind of tired’, and he stepped closer to me and said ‘Listen, I will tell you when you are tired. Now when you get out there, further toughen up! So get out there’. I was like, ‘OK’.

So I trained…hard! And I know now, he wanted me to build up my fitness, because in the beginning, 60 minutes was the maximum I could do in any match. The boys helped me settle really quickly on the field. I adapted to their style of play, and the physical side of the game I adapted to, and then it was just getting to know little details of how to win Premier League matches!!

But by far the hardest thing was actually the home life. You come to a different country and little things such as a supermarket, I wouldn’t have even known where that was. And I remember for weeks we were looking for vinegar, and I didn’t know how to pronounce ‘vinegar’ in English until I went to a chip shop and the lady asked me if I wanted salt and vinegar. I said, ‘What is it?’ and she put a bit on the chip, and I thought ‘Wow: this is vinegar!’ But little things like that made it really hard to settle. But on the field, it was going well!

Posted in: Football, History

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