domenica, dicembre 14, 2008

An Interview With Andrea Dossena

Andrea Dossena has had a mixed start to his Liverpool career, showing promising signs when going forward but equally worrying ones when he has to defend. Back in Italy, however, there are few doubts about the player who became Liverpool’s most expensive defender when he joined from Udinese last July.

A regular in Marcello Lippi’s new look national team, so highly rated is Dossena that questions have been asked about why a player of his ability had to go abroad to further his career. That matter was at the core of a recent interview by Christian Giordano for the weekly magazine Guerin Sportivo.

Andrea, how does it feel?
It is all different, both on and off the pitch. Starting from the stadia that are more beautiful and advanced. The way the game is played is also different. I watched Inter against Roma on television: they played with the ball on the ground. Here the game is much more physical, you run more and there is less time to think.

Afraid of not making it?
I wouldn’t say that I don’t feel up to it, but it takes time to get used to it. In Glasgow against Rangers I understood that here you can get away with everything with the referees: they only blow for tackles with two feet or worse. And training is completely different. There’s neither the running nor the repetition that I was used to. It is only an hour with the ball, but it is very intense. I can’t understand how they do it: compared to us they do half the work but run twice as much. It is a question of mentality, how they approach the game. If we Italians ran as much as they did, we’d be world champions every time.

Difficulties outside football?
The normal adaptation problems. Everything is new both in football and in life. Together with my wife (whom he married just before leaving for England) we have bought a house in the centre. I understand English and can make myself understood. Two or three times a week we take lessons before going for training. I already knew something and I get better every day.

With Benitez you talk in Italian?
No, English. Just as he does with the rest. He talks four languages but shouts in neither one. He occasionally gives me some pointers in Italian.

Perhaps on how to handle pressure? This year you have to win the Premier League.
We are Liverpool. Pressure is normal. It was there in the preliminary round of the Champions League and it is there in the league that they’ve been waiting for since 1990. But it is pressure that you don’t mind. The important thing is being healthy. Football is secondary.

What do you miss the most?
The simple things that then become the vital things. The way of life, going out to eat. Little habits that you need. You only realize how much they mater when you lose them. I’ve signed for four years, I hope that my wife manages to settle.

Are you managing in the team?
Everyone is willing to help, starting from Gerrard. The supporters appreciate those who do their utmost so I haven’t had any problems. I don’t forget how I got here. In football it is easy to go up yet even easier to go down. Compared with Udine I’ve changed my position: with Marino I played higher up the pitch and we often played with three in the centre of defence. Benitez wants me to play in the more traditional left-back role in a four man defence.

Given also the lack of decent left backs, how come an Italian international had to leave Italy?
I didn’t chose to leave. The big teams had other plans whilst Benitez called and asked me: “Andrea, are you ready?” We settled everything within a week.

From Lodi to Anfield, your story seems like a fairy tale. With a happy ending?
I started at Fanfulla and moved to Verona when I was fourteen. If I’ve arrived so far it is thanks to the hard work and sacrifice. We’re doing will but I want to live day by day.