In the third installment of the "MNT in Europe" podcast series, U.S. MNT midfielder Bobby Convey talks about his ups and downs in England and how he has developed since his move across the pond. Catch the entire interview in the latest podcast.
On his pre-season with Reading FC:
“Pre-season has gone really well. It was great coming back in with all the guys. It was a test from Reading and the coaching staff to see if I was committed to the team, especially since last season wasn’t the best.
I came in to get a fresh start, get fit, and that’s what I’ve done. I came to show that I’m one of the fittest guys here. I’ve started every game and done pretty well, and I’ve put myself in a good place for the start of the season.”
On his decision to miss the Gold Cup:
“On the way back from the qualifiers, I spoke with Bruce [Arena] on the plane made the decision with him. The Gold Cup was just a month and my season is a whole year. I needed to come in and impress for the first month, get fully fit, and get back into the groove of things so I’m playing for the full year. That way, when the World Cup comes along next year, I’m completely fit and playing game in and game out.”
“Not going to the Gold Cup helped me by giving [Reading] the impression that I want to be here and that I want to play for this team and that I didn’t come to England to sit around and not play. It was a joint decision with Bruce and I think it worked out. I hope to be in for the upcoming qualifiers because now I feel confident, fit, and ready to go.”
On his difficult first season with Reading:
“I think I’ve learned a lot of life lessons. It was the worst year of my life for soccer. I was miserable throughout the year because I came to England to play. When I wasn’t playing, it was miserable and boring. I learned that I have to be fully committed to it and wait my turn to play.”
“I felt I never got a full chance to play here last year. When I first got here, I played the first four or five games and then I left with the national team a couple times. The manager kept the team the same when I got back. I got out of the groove and being in shape. It was tough being here last year. But it’s a new season and I’m leaving last season behind. I think the positives that came out of this is that I am stronger as a person, I’ve grown as a player and it’s given me a good outlook on this year to do well and make the World Cup team.”
On his relationship with manager Steve Coppell:
“I like the gaffer, he’s a good guy. He’s approachable. He knows what he’s doing. There’s just a little lack of a communication, which he’s worked on with me being here. I have a more personal relationship with him now, I’m not just one of his players. I’m someone that he wants to do well. Last year, there was nothing bad between the coaching staff and myself, I just felt I wasn’t getting a chance to play. I was in his office all the time and it didn’t seem to change.”
“He’s seen that I’m committed to the team and that I came in and worked hard. He’s happy with what I’m doing. When you’re playing, he’s one of the best managers to play for. He gives you time off when you need it and manages you well.”
On the difference between England and U.S. managers:
“It’s a difference in style. In the U.S., you know where you stand. They come to you, tell you what you’re doing wrong and how you can improve.
It’s more about figuring it out for yourself with our manager and if you’re not figuring it out, they don’t tell you, and play the guys that are doing well.”
On the depth of the U.S. team:
“I think it’s great. That was the whole goal of building a national team program and building the team to where it is today. I think Bruce has a lot of options. There are a few more here in Europe and with MLS growing, that’s great. I’ve been blessed to be a part of it with the youth teams, and playing with all of the older guys at a young age. It’s a great feeling to know you have a good and strong national team. We have an ability to win games now. So now, we’re the U.S.A. and we’re going to do well.”
On his happiness at Reading:
“I’m definitely happy where I am. Having a good start with the team will keep my confidence high. Being with the national team for the qualifiers, playing against England, and just being home for two weeks to get away from soccer was a great thing for me. And mentally I just have to try to do well. I have to make sure that I manage myself for the year and make sure I get time off when I need time off and play in every game I possibly can.”
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