Exclusive Interview: Chris Mavinga

Liverpool signed French left back Chris Mavinga from PSG last summer and the 18 year old has quickly established himself in the Reds reserves, earning praise from boss John McMahon.

Mahon said of Mavinga, who is also comfortable playing at centre back, “Chris has shown a lot of good things in his game and he has been fantastic all season. He is new to this country and he couldn’t speak a word of English at the start but he has worked really hard to adapt here and learn the language quickly.”

Piotr Czernicki-Sochal from the Polish Liverpool supporters site, LFC.pl, recently interviewed Chris and has kindly translated the interview for us below.

Piotr: Both Liverpool and Arsenal wanted to sign you. Why did you choose LFC?

Chris: I’ve been watching Liverpool games for a while so it was a great offer. The idea of training with Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres was to exciting to consider other options.

Anfield has seen a lot of great defenders in last years. Which teammate is your role-model?

Sami Hyypia was before he left. Now I would point at Jamie Carragher because of his great career and experience. But generally I admire all Liverpool defenders. They taught me a lot and I hope that one day the apprentice can surpass his masters!

Liverpool won the Champions League final in Istanbul just a day before your 14th birthday. Did you support LFC back then?

I remember that I supported Liverpool on the night, I really felt big sympathy for the club. I’m lucky to have my birthday close to Champions League finals. This game was great to watch.

David Ngog came to Liverpool from Paris Saint-Germain as well. He’s two years older than you and he’s getting a lot of first-team action. Do you want to follow his footsteps?

I’m very happy for him. Sure, such a number of appearances would be a huge reward after all these years of hard work and training sessions. I’ll try to achieve that.

Are you one of these players who put their national team on the first place or do you focus on your club career? Let’s say you have to choose between playing on an important tournament with France and getting your first team game at Anfield…

The national team is very important for the progress of a young player, but if I had to choose, I’d stay in Liverpool and get my first game. I’m working here everyday so making the debut really matters for me.

There’s a lot of criticism for Rafa Benitez these days, but don’t you think that the owners are partly to blame for Liverpool’s results?

I don’t care about it, because players should play football instead of thinking about what’s happening in the boardroom. We have to fight for good results and forget about criticising anyone.

Low transfer funds force Rafa to make risks in the transfer market, but sometimes it pays off – it looks like Sotirios Kyrgiakos can teach our young defenders a lot of things.

I’m really lucky to train in the same place as Sotirios. I love his football, he gives me a lot of tips and wants to continue my development. That’s fantastic, because I’ll do anything to succeed at Liverpool.

Thierry Henry and his hand of God – what do you think about it? Should FIFA replay the game between France and Ireland back in 2009?

Well, to be honest it wasn’t fair and Irish players suffered. I think they should’ve replayed the game to calm fans down.

Maybe we’ll see you in Poland in 2 years? We organise EURO 2012 with Ukraine, it looks like a perfect time for you to show your skills on the international level.

Why not? (Laughs). But being serious, I don’t think so. I won’t get a call-up unless I’ll start playing in the first team at Anfield in next 2 years. I’m patient and I don’t want to make a mistake that could stop my career.

Your French fellows have to qualify to take part in EURO, obviously. Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belarus, Albania, Luxembourg – what do you think about this group?

At first it doesn’t look tough, but you never know. We have to respect our rivals, because otherwise we could get surprised.

  • Thanks to Chris for answering the questions and Piotr for the interview, which was conducted in French originally.
  • Stay tuned to TIA next week when we have an interview with young starlet Lauri Dalla Valle.
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