Our writer James Rowe was invited to the Kyocera Stadium in The Hague to interview ADO Den Haag’s French winger Edouard Duplan. Duplan spoke about ADO Den Haag, his time at Clermont Foot in France – where he played with World Cup winner Bernard Diomede, and his experiences playing for Sparta Rotterdam and FC Utrecht.

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JR “ADO Den Haag have won 4 of their last 5 games. What is the secret to the upturn in fortunes and to the team’s success?”

ED “It has clicked with our new manager Alfons Groenendijk. He quickly understood what went wrong before with our squad. He spoke to us and told us that we had enough quality to avoid relegation. He spoke a lot with the squad and also one to one to find out what went wrong with us earlier in the season. He managed to find the cause of that and together with hard work we managed to leave the relegation zone.”

JR “You mentioned Alfons Groenendlijk. What type of manager is he?”

ED “He is a manager who is accessible to all the players and he likes to master the tactical side of things. He wants also the squad to be involved and due to his approach we have managed to become more of a team. He is also a very calm man who demands passion from his players.”

JR “You have more than 10 years experience playing football in the Netherlands. Could you tell me what are the differences between when you first arrived the current day?”

ED “A good question. When I first came to the Netherlands I was pleasantly surprised by the tactical approach of Dutch teams and that they are all looking for a smart tactical solution for all the problems they face on the pitch and they still do that. Now more than ever because the young talents are leaving the Netherlands and the teams must be as strong as they can tactically. The squads are younger these days. When I first arrived the squads had more experienced players. The younger players are making progress quicker than ever.”

JR “As a Frenchman you also played for Clermont Foot in France. What can you tell me about your time at Clermont Foot?”

ED “Clermont Foot were my first professional club and I loved my time there. It was fantastic. I played with a lot of experienced players most notably French World Cup winner Bernard Diomede. We played in Ligue 2 and we got relegated which is difficult to accept when you are young. But I learnt a lot there “.

JR “Do you support a French team or follow French Football?”

ED “I used to follow French football when I was younger but not anymore. When I was young I wrestled between being born and raised in the suburbs of Paris in Athis – Mons but preferring Olympique Marseille to Paris St Germain. Paris St Germain did not appeal to me due to at that time they had a hooligan element in their atmosphere. But Olympique Marseille did with their fantastic atmosphere and great supporters. That is football in my opinion. I must say when I left France I kept an eye on Paris St Germain because I came from the area and I will sit and watch a game if they are playing in the Champions League and I want the club to do well.”

JR “You made more than 50 appearances for Sparta Rotterdam. What are your memories of your time in Rotterdam?”

ED “Sparta has been a really important club for me. My first club at the highest level in any country. It was a really special time and I was proud to wear the club’s colours as they are the oldest club in the Netherlands. Their fans songs and with the history of the club and the stadium. You are proud to call yourself a Spartan. I really felt at home since day one. I learnt a lot at the club and they helped me develop. If I think back to my time at Sparta it gives my a great feeling and great memories. The only blotch on the copy book is that in my last season we were relegated with perhaps one of the best squads in the history of the club and you never want to leave a club that way.”

JR “You also made over 100 appearances for FC Utrecht becoming a fan favorite. What are your memories of your time in Utrecht?”

ED “FC Utrecht is a completely different club with a completely different atmosphere than Sparta Rotterdam. Sparta Rotterdam is unique in the Netherlands and FC Utrecht is a people’s club like Olympique Marseille which appealed to me with fanatic supporters who really support you. Football also lives in a city such as Utrecht. I became more adult at FC Utrecht playing football in an even more serious way. I gave everything to FC Utrecht and I also received everything from the supporters. I also experienced my biggest highlights of my career at the club playing in the Europa League against Liverpool, Napoli & Steaua Bucharest and Celtic too. I have a lot to thank FC Utrecht for. They have a real share in the footballer and person that I have become today.”

JR “Tomorrow ADO Den Haag play at home to PSV Eindhoven. What are your thoughts ahead of the game?”

ED “We have shown in previous games that everything is possible and that we have a chance against every opponent. If PSV Eindhoven think they can win easy here in The Hague then they are mistaken. We know it will be difficult due to the quality PSV Eindhoven have. But we have learnt to play together now in an attack and in defense. It is now more difficult that ever for an opponent to come to ADO Den Haag and win. I believe we have a chance against PSV Eindhoven tomorrow.”

JR “As a footballer who has a lot of experience, could you tell me who most difficult player you have played against?”

ED “I played against Thomas Vermaelen who is a really difficult defender. He bides his time before committing to a tackle. He is also really strong and quickly and one of the most complete defenders who I have played against.”

JR “Finally who is the best manager you have ever played for?”

ED “It’s difficult to say. I worked together with Jan Wouters at FC Utrecht for a few years and he is a great manager. I could talk to him a lot and he is a really nice man who has a lot of insight and he is tactically very strong. You can see how much he is helping Feyenoord where he’s now an assistant because he has so much experience.”

James Rowe (696 Posts)