James Rowe recently spoke with Ross County’s Dutch striker Alex Schalk. They talked about playing in Scotland and his time with Dutch teams NAC Breda and Go Ahead Eagles.

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Below is a transcript of the interview:

JR: ”You signed for Ross County in 2015. Are you enjoying it and was it a conscious decision to sign for them?”

AS: ”I am really enjoying myself at Ross County. I first came to the club after my contract was terminated by Go Ahead Eagles in a professional way. I looked at my options and Ross County appeared to be the best choice as they play with two strikers that compliment one another. At first, I went to train with the club for 6 days and Ross County also wanted to see what I could do and we reached an agreement. I thought that it would be a good challenge to test myself in another country with a different style of play.”

JR: ”What did it feel like to score the winning goal in the Scottish League Cup final v Hibernian in 2016? ”

AS: ”I must say that it is the highlight of my career so far. To win a trophy in my first season was great. You must not forget that we beat Celtic 3-1 in the semi-final. The final was a tense game and not very open. In the 89th minute, the ball came into the 18-yard box and I was in the right place to score. It was a euphoric moment.”

JR: ”What can you tell me about your current manager Owen Coyle?”

AS: ”Owen Coyle is a really enthusiastic manager who wants his team to enjoy their football. He arrived in September 2017 and has the task of saving the club from relegation as we are currently bottom of the league. He was also a striker during his career at Dundee United and Bolton Wanderers and he helps me with tips and advice which is nice.”

JR: ”You also played for NAC Breda from 2011-2014. How do you look back on your time in Breda?”.

AS: ”I was born and raised in Breda and I came through all the youth teams at the club. I was also a fan of the club and it was a dream to make my debut for NAC Breda against Heracles Almelo in 2011. I really enjoyed my time at NAC Breda and I still have contact with a lot of people at the club. I also enjoy going back to see everybody and watch a NAC Breda game when I am back in the Netherlands.”

JR: ”You played for Go Ahead Eagles in the 2014-2015 season. How do you look back on your season in Deventer?”

AS: ”I have mixed feelings when I look back at my season with Go Ahead Eagles. Even though Go Ahead Eagles were relegated that season I had a great time. It is such a nice club where you feel like part of a family. Similar to NAC Breda in a way. I never had any doubts to sign for Go Ahead Eagles when they offered me a contract. I suffered two hamstring injuries where I was out injured for 5 months. I was often asked to play out on the wing by manager Foeke Booy. I was professional enough to play where I was asked to. But I feel that my main strengths are when I play as a main striker. We had a real team with great players and characters. Relegation was difficult to take for us as a squad.”

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

AS: ”Yes without a doubt is that is Park Ji-sung at PSV Eindhoven when I was at Jong PSV. He also played for Manchester United and played so well for PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League. You could see his class during training even though he suffered from a bad knee towards the end of his career. I joined the PSV Eindhoven first team for a trip to South Korea for his farewell at PSV Eindhoven. We played a small tournament and it was an honour to kick off those matches with such a player.”

JR: ”Who is the most difficult opponent that you have faced?”

AS: ”That is also very easy to answer. When I was only 19 years old I played for NAC Breda away to Ajax in the ArenA in Amsterdam and I came up against Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderwiereld. They were so strong as central defenders and it was tough to play against them. But I must say great memories as well.”

JR: ”Finally Alex who is the best manager you have ever played under?”

AS: ”I must say at Jong PSV the duo of Twan Scheepers and Darije Kalezic were fantastic and I learnt a lot from them especially during training. Jim McIntyre brought me to Ross County. I also enjoyed playing under Foeke Booy at Go Ahead Eagles. Personally, I do not want to say a particular name because you learn from all managers you play under and the intention is always there to improve as a footballer.”




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