Get French Football News sat down with French full-back and Belgian giant Anderlecht’s new signing Maxime Colin to discuss Troyes, the Champions League and the start of his new adventure.
Born: 15th November 1991
Current Club: RSC Anderlecht
Former Clubs: Boulogne, ESTAC Troyes
To kick off, what will you remember most about your time at ESTAC Troyes?
In terms of the dressing room, I will retain some great memories because that group we had was excellent. Personally, I had two very good years at Troyes. On the pitch, it was a shame to be relegated from Ligue 1 to Ligue 2 even if we played good football. With Troyes, I participated in two cup semi-finals: in my first year, in the Coupe de France, when we were eliminated by Bordeaux and last year, in the Coupe de la Ligue, when we had a very good journey, which finished against Lyon.
What aspects of your game convinced Anderlecht to recruit you?
First and foremost, the fact that I have already played a lot. I am still a young player and I had the chance to have had managers where everything has always gone well. Whether it was with Jean-Marc Furlan at Troyes, who is really, in my view, an excellent manager and thanks to whom I have learnt a lot, or with the numerous coaches I had at Boulogne, I have always played a lot of games. That has worked out in my favour. It is the sum of these favourable factors that has got me to where I am today at Anderlecht.
Why did you choose Anderlecht? What were the key factors that aided you in your decision making?
If I was to quit Troyes, I wanted to find a club that was truly at another level. In the past, I have often privileged Troyes over certain Ligue 1 sides quite simply because it is an excellent club, that plans to climb back to Ligue 1. I did not see myself leaving for a club in Ligue 1 just to play in a relegation battle. Anderlecht was therefore a good opportunity for me. A transfer was then envisaged and Troyes have recouped a handsome fee. I absolutely wanted to join Anderlecht, who are undoubtedly a top club, that plays in the Champions League and that is blessed with facilities of the highest calibre.
Did Fabrice N’Sakala, currently an Anderlecht player, who you played alongside with at Troyes, advise you to join the club?
Yes, absolutely. He told me to come here with my eyes closed. He assured me that he was truly happy at this club and he was very positive about the staff. That really did comfort me in making my decision.
You will be in competition with Belgian international Anthony Vanden Borre and possibly Fabrice N’Sakala for that right-back position. How do you envisage your relationship with these players developing going forward?
Fabrice normally plays at left back. After that, honestly, in all the big clubs there is competition between players for spaces. By signing for Anderlecht, I knew that I would be confronted with that. It is part of the job, and I think that it will help me progress. I will learn a lot alongside Anthony (Vanden Borre) who is truly a good player. I hope that we will get on well. I have the qualities to do it, so I hope I can, in principle, play as many matches as possible.
What were the first words from your new manager Besnik Hasi?
We spoke a lot about tactics, on how he wants the team to play. We discussed what is expected of full-backs in this tactical setup, but also how I should carry myself, now that I am at a top club. Overall, it is on the pitch where we need to put all that into practice.
Have you trained with the group as of yet?
Not yet. For the moment, I have only undergone the physical tests and the medical, and one warm-up with them. I can’t wait to start and settle into the group.
But you have rubbed shoulders with your new team mates, no?
Yes I have already been given my right of passage. Over here, the players and the members of staff line up in a row and form a little alley and the new player has to run down this alley as quickly as possible whilst protecting himself, in order to avoid being hit by his new colleagues! (he laughs)
On the subject of the Champions League, describe the feeling of knowing that you will be a part of this competition.
It is a dream. We will be going toe-to-toe with Europe’s finest teams, and it is always good to be able to come up against them. It is exciting to be able to measure myself against an international standard. We will of course be committed to giving a good impression of ourselves on the European scene.
Do you feel any pressure at all knowing that you could be participating in a competition that attracts so much media coverage and interest?
It is true that here, a lot of people are already talking about the Champions League. Honestly, that puts us under pressure. The matches are not coming up for a while yet so I don’t really feel it. It will rise little by little, without a doubt, as the games approach.
What are your personal aims for the forthcoming season?
I hope to quickly settle into this team, in this club and in this town. Also, to play as many games as possible, and to grab hold of as much playing time as possible, to become, eventually, a starting full-back at Anderlecht. Finally, I want to do well there and win the Belgian league whilst maintaining the club’s respected presence on the European scene.
A.K. with C.N.
[PHOTO: ESTAC WEB]