Interview Simon Kjær in Wolfsburg Magazine Unter Wülfen
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Interview Simon Kjær in Wolfsburg Magazine

Interview: Unter Wülfen · 30 Oct 2010

A collector's item, that's what this Wolfsburg Magazine with Simon Kjær is! Read the full interview from 2010 with Simon Kjær.

Interview Simon Kjær: "I wanted a team with perspective"

Simon Kjaer is regarded as an elegant and explosive fighter who has already a sovereignty rather atypical for his age. Because of this he was voted Danish talent of the year in 2009. The 21-year-old has leadership qualities and has made a name for himself in the Italian league. In the summer of this year, the VfL brought the Dane to Germany.

For Kjaer it was now Wolfsburg instead of Palermo. However, his task was the same: give stability to the defence. Simon Kjaer is a talent who should immediately take responsibility for the Wolves. He already proved at the football World Cup in South Africa that it is hard to put him out of countenance. He was one of the most conspicuous Danes and impressed as a modern defender who concentrated on the essentials and avoided show effects. A scene of the blond, 1.89m giant is remembered: his precise 60-metre pass, with which he started Denmark's 1-1 draw with Cameroon.

He also got a good start at the wolves, scored in his first game - in preparation - against FC Augsburg, was part of the starting eleven at the start of the Bundesliga and played all of the following nine games from the start. But it faltered, the first three games were lost, criticism was loud. But the team got free. Three wins followed, including at title favorites Hamburger SV. Calm returned until the last two games - defeat of the season fourth and fifth - were lost. Frustration. Disappointment. Dissatisfaction also with Simon Kjaer.

16 goals conceded speak against a team that is working well backwards, 16 goals conceded are particularly annoying for a defender - including Simon Kjaer, who has worn the jersey of the Danish national team 15 times and has the Last Supper tattooed on his left forearm. For VfL is the Dane an investment in the future because he has more than just talent.

Simon, what's going on with the VFL?

Simon Kjær: "It's not going well. We try everything, but we don't manage to play to our full potential. That's why we have to change things and work more as a team to get out of there."

Does the team lack the absolute will to win?

"No, that's not the problem. Every one of us wants to win. We are unhappy with the situation ourselves. Maybe I can explain it like this: After a 3-0 lead against Mainz we still lost 3-4. When the goal came against Leverkusen after our good game and the 2-0 lead, some players became unsure. We lost order and so also this game. Something like that gets stuck."

How can the team deal better with such situations?

"By learning how to behave differently when goals are conceded. Not only when they are created, but also after that. We must always believe in ourselves and keep organized."

Where do you see other reasons for the poor record of nine points from ten games?

"Every mistake we make, no matter how small, is punished and immediately leads to a conceded goal. It's often individual inattentiveness that you can't train for. Other teams make mistakes too, but they are luckier. We have to earn that again."

What about your own position in central defence. Do you fear the competition?

"I'm not satisfied with my performance. Often the last concentration was missing. That shouldn't happen, but it's not just the fault of the defense alone. The whole team has to work from front to back. Of course there is competition, especially when Arne Friedrich comes back. The coach decides who then has to go to the bench. I will continue to work hard."

"We must always believe in ourselves and keep organized."

- Simon Kjær

Does your job annoy you right now?

"Yes, because I'm disappointed and frustrated. We all train hard during the week and we don't get rewarded for it at the weekend because sometimes things don't go well for us. But I can't blame it on that alone. It also has a lot to do with the mentality and is a matter of the mind."

Mentality is always an issue at VfL. How do you deal with the lack of concentration?

"Each player has to decide for himself whether he is open to this topic and whether he wants to accept external help. That's me and that's why I've been working with a personal coach since I was 15 years old."

What does your joint work look like?

"We talk about everything but football, He only knows me as Simon who is from Denmark and is 21 years old. I call him when it seems important to me personally. We exchange ideas about things like motivation or behavior. He has helped me with many small things."

Is VfL losing sight of its goals?

"I do not think so. After our three initial defeats, we came back and put in a series. We mustn't question everything now. If we take a chance, we'll be in the top five in the league. At some point, teams like Dortmund and Mainz will be on the up. Then we'll have to be there."

Where can the coach lead the team?

"Steve McClaren leads the team optimally. He gives us advice and prepares us for the respective opponents. But he can still give us so many tips, if we don't implement them, then it's not a matter for the coach, it's dependent on the player."

Where is the club at the end of the season?

"Hopefully in the top five. We just have to think game by game and score game by game."

Despite the current situation: What convinced you at VfL to switch to Wolfsburg?


"I needed a change in my career. And when you're 21, you have to play and not sit on the bench waiting for your chance. I wanted a team with prospects where I could be a regular. I wanted to play in a team that has the opportunity. to play titles. The organization and infrastructure are also right here. Of course, I'm also much closer to my Danish homeland."

Is there anything that has positively surprised you so far?

"Yes, even if it sounds strange now, the strength of the team surprised me. I didn't realize that VfL had so many good players in their ranks. Someone like Edin Dzeko is one of the top strikers in Europe, he's important for the team."

With your move from the Italian league, did you have to change your style of play?

"Oh yes I had to. At US Palermo I kept my position more. We also played with two lines of defence. So when I walked towards an attacking opponent, someone still protected me. Here I am much more free and have to move more."

Can you describe Steve McClaren's concept?

"He wants us to play fullball. When attacking, we should shift so that we are always one man with me on the defensive. It's also important to him that we don't play headless, but with our eyes. Nevertheless, his game is offensively oriented."

How helpful are you to the team and do you see yourself as a leader?

"I feel like a team player because I have the qualities to make a good game. I'm also someone who likes to take on responsibility. But leadership always has something to do with age. I can't come to a new team and immediately say "you have to do it this way." It's also a question of respect."

What qualities does a leader need to have?

"He has to communicate with the team and has to motivate them. You know what's going wrong, so something positive has to come across. He also has to be professional - even off the pitch. Of course, a certain sporty quality is also part of it."

"Leadership always has something to do with age. It's also a question of respect."

- Simon Kjær

We would like to know more about the private Simon Kjaer. You act powerfully and athletically on the pitch. How are you outside of business?

"Oh, I'm a very quiet guy. I prefer to relax at home by watching films or playing the Playstation. With us everything is completely normal."

How do you live here?

"My girlfriend and I moved into a house near Wolfsburg. We feel good there and enjoy the time together besides football."

What are you angry about besides defeats?

"Basically, I'm not easily angered. But I don't like it when people don't keep their word or talk behind my back. But when I'm upset, I really do."

Do you remember a school prank you pulled?

"It's not a real prank. But I never wanted to do my homework. And whenever my teacher warned me, I told him that I wanted to be a soccer player and that I didn't need to. But at some point I realized that I can't do without it."

Are there days when you don't think about football?

"I can separate that quite well. When I'm at VfL I'm 100 per cent focused on the club, but when I drive out of the arena football is over for the day. Only defeats like in Nuremberg gnaw at me, I brood over that for a day or two. But you also have to learn to let go and face new tasks again."

What kind of image do you think you have?

"I have a hard time answering that. I am balanced, always think positive. What do you think about me?"

Are you a sunny boy?

(thinks for a moment) "Yes, I like that."

"I am balanced, always think positive."

- Simon Kjær

Do you have a second passion besides football?

"Shopping! I really like going shopping with my girlfriend. This is particularly worthwhile in Berlin and Hamburg."

What have been your best moments in Wolfsburg so far?

"The victory at HSV. We beat a strong team there and I defended well against Ruud van Nistelrooy. That gave me a lot of self-confidence. And when I moved into our new house with my girlfriend, that was also a nice moment."

Do you often go to your home country of Denmark and still maintain contacts with Italy?

"Since I'm not the type who likes to drive more than 500 kilometers back and forth in one day, I rarely do that during Bundesliga games. But when I'm with the national team, I also see my family. During my two years in Italy, I made friends and I keep in touch."

If you had one wish...?

"I want us to win again."

And if the wish doesn't work out, how does VfL manage to turn things around?

"By continuing to work, believing in ourselves and calling on our strengths."

Many thanks to @simonkjaerscreenshots and @darkskyla.

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