In his first comprehensive interview since joining Brentford from Anderlecht, French full-back Maxime Colin looks back on an interesting 12 months in his career exclusively with Get French Football News.
Hello Maxime Colin, To start off with, what have learnt during your time at Anderlecht?
I got to see what a big club was like, whatever that means. It is really a top club in Belgium. It is equivalent to a Lille in France knowing that, you really are fighting to become champion.
Anderlecht, it really is the number one club, it is at the same level as Lille with the image of PSG. Everyone looks forward to Anderlecht so you see what it means to be the top club in your country.
The difference between Troyes and Anderlecht, was that something that was noticeable for you?
Yes, you see a complete difference. There is nothing comparable with Troyes. Anderlecht really is on another level. I am happy to have spent a year at a club like that because I wanted to see what the top level is like.
You previously told Get French Football News that you were joining Anderlecht to take your career to the next level and to play Champions League football. At the moment, your record from last season in Belgium is 15 starts in the league, zero minutes in the Champions League. Was that difficult to deal with for you?
It was not a difficult year for me. I had a very good year considering that it was my first season, I was in the squad for all the matches. I also played in six cup matches, starting those games, some Europa League matches and I started in the final of the Belgian cup.
Those are considerable achievements. Of course, I didn’t play in the Champions League but I arrived in the group a little later and it was certainly more difficult for me to immediately force my way into contention.
I have mention the fact that I did not spend pre-season with them and the Champions League was already in September. I showed over the course of the year that I could start matches so it was a good experience. Then, an offer from England presented itself and it was better for me to have more playing time.
When you returned from your holidays, you were counting on staying at Anderlecht and the club did not particularly want to let you do. So it was not at all their decision…
No, not at all! Anderlecht wanted to keep me and they were very happy about that idea. I didn’t think that I was really going to leave either.
Then, there was this interest from Brentford which “pushed” me to the exit door, but otherwise there was nothing arranged for me to leave.
What won’t you forget about Anderlecht?
The fans. Against Arsenal in the Champions League, were were losing 3-0 but we came back to 3-3 thanks to an excellent comeback. The fans really came that night in force and made more noise that the whole of the Arsenal stadium. It was a great moment, something I won’t forget for a long time.
Are you happy to leave Anderlecht for Brentford then?
You are never happy to leave a club like Anderlecht, they really are at the top level! It was better for me to go to Brentford, it is a very good project for me, the best thing for me was to come here.
I am very happy to have signed and I hope to succeed here. The club is sound, the board too, the team is good. Everything is united and we will give everything to achieve our aims.
I read an interview during which you said that this opportunity was enticing…
Yes, for sure, they finished 5th last season. They participated in the play-offs to win promotion to the Premier League. This year, the aim is to win promotion to the Premier League so it is truly a project that could be superb.
Have you arrived at this club with any playing time guarantees?
You are never certain to play. Aside from that, if I prove myself, I play my matches and I play them well, I should be able to play a little bit more than I did at Anderlecht. But we never get to choose any of that, I have no certainty of playing any number of matches.
Who is your competition in this Brentford team?
He is Alex McCormack. He is an old player, in his thirties, someone who has the “fighting spirit” as we say here. He really has the fight of a winner and a very good boot… In every club there is competition, that is normal.
Why do you think that Brentford target you for this right-back position?
They watched by matches and looked at my statistics. They work a loot with that: the number of balls won and lost, they use and analyse statistics with computer software. They came across me thanks to that.
It is often said that second division championships are more similar too each other. Do you consider this move a bit of a gamble?
Of course, it is a risk. When you make decision, there is always a little bit of risk attached to it. Now, it is clear that this is a very good league, I will have to adapt to the intensity but I am not scared of that and I am looking forward to it.
Is this a key season for you, especially with the chance to receive adequate game time to progress as a player?
Every season is important, you cannot allow yourself to be in a position to have a season without playing matches or playing very little. Everything goes so quickly that you cannot miss out and this season will be just as important as the previous ones.
I played 27 matches last season with around 20 starts including all competitions, many players have never done that during their first season at Anderlecht, so it was not a disappointment either.