Jordan Amavi has given his first substantial interview as an Aston Villa player to L’Équipe where he discussed England, and why he joined the club.
You have been in England now for one week, what are your first impressions?
That it is not at all similar to France. When I arrived on the first day, they told me that they would look after absolutely everything, all that I needed to bring were my boots. Nothing but that, that was bizarre. There are some fantastic facilities too. After that, during the first training session, the commitment, the intensity, I can tell you that that has changed. It is pressing, pressing, pressing, pressing, all the time. There is very little rest, no “blah blah blah” during the session. In France, it is more tactical I think.
If I had told you that that it was a surprise that you have joined Aston Villa so quickly, what would your response be?
I don’t ask myself that question. They came and proposed me something. It is an ambitious club, a league that I adore.
But is not quite a rapid change to go from Nice to Aston Villa?
It was very quick for me. I was given my chance in Ligue 1, then I did a complete season and now I find myself in the Premier League. If you had told me that three years ago, honestly, I would not have believed you.
Do you not regret not signing for Lyon, who are playing in the Champions League?
You have to make decisions. Lyon would have also allowed me to progress, but it didn’t happen.
Initially, you had decided to stay in Ligue 1…
Yes. But after that Aston Villa made me an offer. I spoke with my family about it. It is not easy to make the right choice. They want to build a competitive team, to return to success. In England, I will be playing in European matches every weekend, and that, for me, has always been a dream. I know that I will have to work hard to be ready. But my success, will depend on me. Only on me.
So this new challenge doesn’t seem risky for you?
No, not at all. If I do what I need to do, it will work, it will depend only on me.
What are your thoughts on the size of the transfer?
I am not going to lie to you, on the face of it, it seemed strange to me. I did not think that a club would offer what Nice were asking for (€10m). When Aston Villa, decided to spend that amount of money there, it is not for nothing. That gave me great confidence. I will work to match their confidence in me.
Does the size of this transfer fee represent extra pressure for you?
No, I don’t see it like that. I now have to respond on the pitch, that is all. They have given me a certain importance. After that, I have not got a new standing as a player, I changed clubs, that is it, I still have it all to prove.
How do you reflect on your journey so far?
My dream, was this, to become a professional footballer in the Premier League. It is a magnificent story for me. Nice, was a very nice experience for me. The club had the ambition to play young talent, we have profited from that. I want to thank the coach (Claude Puel) for giving me my chance. It is a second family for me, and I am sure that I would have continued to progress if I had stayed there.