IN a TAW PLAYER exclusive, John Gibbons and Andrew Heaton sat down with Emre Can to talk about his time at Liverpool, this is the full transcript of the interview.
TAW: What was it like growing up in Germany, and how did you get into football? What kind of teams did you used to play for?
Emre Can: I remember playing football outside of my house with my friends when I was 3 or 4. I’ve played all my life.
TAW: And when did you know you were good?
Emre Can: 7, as that is when I went to my first club in Frankfurt and played with the older guys.
TAW: Was is difficult playing with the older guys?
Emre Can: I don’t know. I was young!
TAW: Can you remember your first boots?
Emre Can: I think it was the brand was called Victory, but I don’t know the exact kind style.
TAW: Were you always a midfielder when growing up?
Emre Can: Yes. Always centre midfield.
TAW: Was it easy for you to move over to Liverpool, as it might have been easier to stay in Germany?
Emre Can: It was a big move for me. It’s the first time I’ve lived away from Germany. It’s not easy because I didn’t speak the language so well, but it’s getting better now my English is getting better. The important thing is that now I’m happy in Liverpool. And I would like to mention that everybody in the club helped me from the first day. It’s really is like a family here.
TAW: what’s the difference between football in Germany and England?
Emre Can: In the EPL, every game is a tough game. The bottom team can win against the top team. In the EPL the game is a lot stonger and faster.
TAW: Do you find you’re fouled more and more things are allowed to go here by the referees?
Emre Can: Yes, definitely.
TAW: So you have to adjust to that as a player?
Emre Can: For me it’s good because I don’t like it if the referee gives everything as a foul.
TAW: So you don’t mind giving it out a bit as well then?
Emre Can: Well, sometimes (laughter).
TAW: A lot is said about the atmosphere in Germany and the atmosphere in England. Have you noticed much of a difference in terms of the fans and the noise the fans make? Is it similar?
Emre Can: I think it’s similar. I think the atmosphere in German and English stadiums is the best in the world because almost every game is sold out and it’s great in Germany and England.
TAW: Did you go to many games as a supporter in Germany?
Emre Can: Yes I went to Frankfurt games because that’s where I’m from.
TAW: So Frankfurt are your team?
Emre Can: Mmmm yeah they were my team yeah.
TAW: Did you enjoy that as a fan, sitting with the other supporters?
Emre Can: Yes of course. I enjoyed the first time I went to the stadium – it was great. I was a supporter of the team so it was great to go there because it was my dream to play in big stadiums.
TAW: The fans at Liverpool have really taken to you and you must have noticed that you’re one of the favourites of the supporters already. I don’t know if you’ve noticed them singing your name on the terraces already? Do you feel the love from the supporters?
Emre Can: Yeah I feel that definitely but I try to give my everything and try to give them 100% in every game. That’s what fans want to see and that’s a big honour for me that they love me and I love them as well. They’re great fans.
TAW: Do you feel the love from the fans already?
Emre Can: Yeah I feel that and I want to give my everything in every game and that is what fans want to see. They love me and They are great fans.
TAW: You have been given the iconic 23 shirt number that has belonged to the likes of Jamie Carragher. Was this something you thought about before you took the number or was it just one you liked?
Emre Can: I was aware that Carragher had had the number before me and it was a big thing for me that he had worn that number.
TAW: Jamie’s son has a number 23 shirt with Can on the back.
Emre Can: It’s an honor for me (laughs).
TAW: The first half of the season you didn’t play as much but since January you have been playing more regularly. As a young player, that must be great?
Emre Can: Obviously I want to be playing every game and for me it was not easy at the beginning, in preseason I had some calf problems then I had an injury but not since January I have played every game and for 90 minutes so yes it worked out I am very happy.
TAW: You are playing lots of different positions, is that ok for you? Do you just like being in the team and are you comfortable in these different positions you have played?
Emre Can: Yes I am comfortable, the boss knows I prefer the midfield but for me the important thing is that I play.
TAW: You talk about being settled in the team. Are you settled in Liverpool as a place and as a city to live in?
Emre Can: Yes of course, I am now nearly one year here and I feel very at home. The people here are very friendly and I am happy in Liverpool.
TAW: Do people recognise you from football and want to talk to you?
Emre Can: Yes yes of course, if I am in the city, sometimes they want to come and speak with me
TAW: And the people are nice to you are they?
Emre Can: Yes, yes. Really nice.
TAW: Have you found nice restaurants that you like as well? Have you got any tips for us?
Emre Can: Yes absolutely, I have 2 or 3 places that are my absolute favourite. Il Forno, San Carlo.
TAW: All the footballers tend to love San Carlo! I prefer Il Forno myself.
Emre Can: yes I prefer Il Forno, as it’s a little bit quieter.
TAW: You’ve said that you see yourself as a midfielder. Is that the kind of thing that you talk about a lot with the manager?
Emre Can: Of course, we talked about this. The manager has said he sees me as a midfielder, and that’s where I want to play in the near future. .
TAW: Has the manager told you any areas that you need to work on and improve in order to play in midfield for Liverpool? Or is it a case of you just needing to play?
Emre Can: Of course he talks to me every day about what I can do better. I have to work on my game and he helps me everyday.
TAW: What’s he like as a coach compared to the ones you’ve worked with previously? How is he different?
Emre Can: He speaks another language! Mostly it’s that he wants to play football. That’s what I want and that’s why I came to Liverpool.
TAW: With Steven Gerrard obviously moving on, there’s a space in the midfield for Liverpool. People maybe are talking about other players coming in, but presumably you feel that you can fill that role in the midfield?
Emre Can: Of course I want in the midfield, and I can take the opportunity and prove I can play in the midfield.
TAW: Is there a particular role in the midfield that you prefer to play. Obviously we play different formations, sometimes with three midfielders with more defensive midfields like Lucas, or someone like Henderson who is more attacking. Is there a particular role you have the skills for?
Emre Can: Anywhere in the centre midfield!
TAW: Going back to the city of Liverpool. You’ve been here almost a year now, is there one thing that has particularly surprised you about the city?
Emre Can: All the fans knowledge about football. All the fans can speak about Liverpool, knowing everything about the club and upcoming games, what the opposition are like, are what they think we should do to win.
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