In his latest exclusive interview, James Rowe spoke with Slavia Prague striker Mick van Buren. They spoke about Slavia Prague’s current Europa League exploits, their derby win against Sparta Prague and his time with Excelsior and in Denmark with Esbjerg fB.

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Below is a transcript of the interview

JR:”You signed for Slavia Prague in 2016. How are you adjusting to life in Czech Republic?”

MvB: ”I am really enjoying it. Prague is a really nice city where everybody speaks English. It is also an international city with lots to see and do. It is also not too far away so my family can come to visit.”

JR: ”You started out at Excelsior Rotterdam in 2011. How do you look back on your time at the club? ”

MvB: ”When I first broke through the club where playing in the Eredivisie and I did not play many games. When they were relegated to the Jupiler League in 2011/ 2012 season I went on to play more games and scored goals. It set me on my path in order to get a good transfer to Esbjerg fB in 2013.”

JR: ”That leads my on nicely to my next question. How do you look back on your first experience abroad in Denmark and playing 3 seasons for Esbjerg fB?”

MvB: ”It was a wonderful experience and a great step for me. Esbjerg is a small town where the people are very friendly. The culture is similar to the Netherlands. Before my transfer I was used to a big city in Rotterdam. My highlights were playing in the Europa League where we got through are group but were knocked out in the last 32 by Fiorentina and also the following season scoring two goals in a decisive 2-1 win in a relegation battle against FC Vestsjaelland. We were 1-0 down and I scored two goals in order to help keep the club up. I have nothing negative to say about my time in Denmark. I really enjoyed it. ”

JR: ”What is it like to play in the Prague derby against Sparta Prague, Intense?”

MvB: ”Slavia Prague v Sparta Prague is a really special game. It’s like the rivalry of Ajax v Feyenoord but in one city. We won the derby against Sparta Prague 2-0 back in September and all the players received a special key to the city as a momento from the mayor of Prague.”

JR: ”Slavia Prague are doing well in the Europa League this season. How do you approach you final group game this Thursday against Astana at home?”

MvB: ”Thursday’s game is our last game before our winter break. A draw is enough for us to go through to the last 32. But we will not be playing for a draw we want to win. Slavia Prague are in Europe for the first time in 8 years and we want to go as far as we can.”

JR: ”You faced Villarreal in your Europa League group. How difficult were the games you faced against them?”

MvB: ”Villarreal are a good side that are very technical and skillful. You know that when playing a Spanish team they will have good technical skill and ability. We managed to secure a 2-2 draw in Spain but we unfortunately lost 2-0 to them on Europa League Matchday 4 in Prague.”

JR: ”Who is the best player you have played with? ”

MvB: ”I can say without a doubt that the best player I have played with so far in my career is my current teammate Danny. He has so much quality and tactical insight. You can even see that in training with some of the passes he makes. He also played 8 years for Russian team Zenit St Petersburg and for his country Portugal.”

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

MvB: ”I played against Kurt Zouma with Esbjerg in the Europa League when he was playing for St Etienne in France. He is a beast of a defender and so strong. It was particularly difficult to win aerial challenges against him.”

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

MvB: ”I have not had a manager that really sticks out as the best I have played under. I do however have a lot of respect for Niels Frederiksen ( Current manager of Denmark under 21 team ) who was my manager at Esbjerg. He has interesting training methods and also very good ideas about football and he gives young players a chance too. When he was my manager we had a very dynamic team.”

James Rowe (696 Posts)