James Rowe recently spoke to MSV Duisburg goalkeeper Mark Flekken. They talked about coming through the youth set-up at Roda JC and Alemannia Aachen, Playing for German team spVgg Greuther Furth and signing his current team MSV Duisburg.

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Below is a transcript of the interview.

JR: ”In 2016 you signed for MSV Duisburg. Are you enjoying your time at the club and what are the challenges in the Bundesliga II?”

MF: ”I am enjoyed my time here at MSV Duisburg. When I signed for the club they were recently relegated from the Bundesliga II so I started playing in the 3rd tier in Germany and I felt confident that I could perform well at that level and we managed to celebrate winning the title at the end of that season so that was a great success. ”

JR: ”You came through the youth team at German side Alemannia Aachen. What can you tell me about such an experience? ”

MF: ”In the first instance I spent 4 years in the youth team of Roda JC and at the age of 16 I went to Alemannia Aachen due to the that I was not satisfied with certain aspects of the Roda JC youth team and I got the chance to go and play football in Germany for Alemannia Aachen and I felt really good about the opportunity after I had initial talks with the club and I went with my gut instinct to Germany. Although I believe I had the best of both worlds due to my time in the youth team at Roda JC and Alemannia Aachen which helped me to prepare for a career in professional football. ”

JR: ”You played 3 seasons for German team spVgg Greuther Furth. How do you look back on your time at the club? ”

MF: ”I wanted to take the opportunity to go to spVgg Greuther Furth and it was a great experience because they were recently relegated from the Bundesliga to Bundesliga II. I felt at the time that it was a different level to what I was used to. I felt that during my first year I needed the time to develop myself in order to get to the level required. At the start of my second season during pre-season I felt really strong and the signs were that they I could maybe become 1st choice goalkeeper that season but unfortunately I sustained a cruciate knee injury which in turn held me back in my development as a goalkeeper but I became mentally stronger and I learned a lot during my time at SpVgg Greuther Furth. ”

JR: ”You are the first goalkeeper that I have interviewed since I started interviewing Dutch professional players and managers in July 2016. In your position what are the biggest challenges you face as a goalkeeper in the Bundesliga II?

MF: ”Someone has to be goalkeeper right? The most important thing is to play the matches and gain experience as a goalkeeper at a competitive level. As a goalkeeper, you have to work in combination and together with your teammates. You have to try to keep a clean sheet as often as possible and for me that is the biggest challenge. I try to help and encourage my teammates everyday in training and also in every game that we play to make things easier for ourselves as a team. ”

JR: ‘ What are the ambitions and goals for MSV Duisburg this season? ”

MF: ”Our main goal is to accumulate enough points in order to stay in the Bundesliga II without being in danger of relegation. As a team and squad we want to achieve the maximum that we can this season. ”

JR: ”Could you say who is the best player that you have ever played with so far in your career? ”

MF: ”I have played with many good players so far in my career. During my first year at SpVgg Greuther Furth I played behind Albanian central defender Mergim Mavraj. He is now vice-captain at Hamburger SV I looked up to him in terms of the qualities that he has. Another great player who sticks out for me is defensive midfielder Albert Streit who I played with at Alemannia Aachen. Mergim and Albert are two of many players that I really enjoyed playing with so far in my career. ”

JR: ”Who is the most difficult opponent that you have faced so far in your career? ”

MF: ”I have played many matches here in Germany. In particular, when I played for Alemannia Aachen we played against many good opponents. I do not want to say a particular opponent but I can assure you that the experience of playing those matches has stood me in good stay for my career in professional football. ”

JR: ”Finally Mark who are the managers that have played a big part in your development as a professional goalkeeper?”

MF: ”I have had goalkeeping coaches at every club that I have been at that have helped me an awful lot in my career. My goalkeeping coach in the youth team at Roda JC Huub de Vers. At Alemannia Aachen Arthur Spiermann and in my first two years at SpVgg Greuther Furth my goalkeeping was Frederick GoBling who is now current goalkeeping coach at Bundesliga team RB Leipzig. There were the 3 goalkeeping coaches that I owe a big thank you to in terms of helping my development as a professional goalkeeper. Not to forget the daily training sessions with my present coach Sven Beuckert. We are working together since 2016 / 2017 and I am really satisfied with our current results and my current condition. ”

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