Germany international Robin Gosens is a late bloomer, as the Atalanta winger only joined a professional football club aged 18. Gosens still has close ties with amateur football. In part one of his interview with DFB.de, he discusses tackles on clay pitches, sausages on the sidelines and his love for amateur football.
DFB.de: Mr. Gosens, how did you get started in football?
Robin Gosens: I was a relatively late starter. Until I was six, I had absolutely nothing to do with football. That’s already quite strange. As a kid I spent a lot of time outside, but at first I wasn’t interested in the ball. My dad was a football coach. He gave me footballs and put them at my feet because he wanted me to start playing. The older I got, the stronger my love for football grew. When my dad took me to training with the Fortuna Elten youth team for the first time, everything clicked. That’s where my love for football started, and it’s never gone away. It never will.
DFB.de: Are you still in touch with any of your childhood clubs or teammates?
Gosens: I made the majority of my friends at Fortuna Elten, 1. FC Bocholt and VfL Rhede. I still have the friendship groups that I formed at those clubs. I made all of my friends for life playing amateur football, and for that alone I am extremely grateful. Apart from them, though, I still have plenty of contact with the clubs. I still speak to a lot of my old coaches and club officials who were there in my childhood. I think it’s important to maintain that contact because amateur football is such a big part of my life. Without that foundation I wouldn’t be a professional footballer and I wouldn’t be the man I am today.
DFB.de: Do you still follow the amateur football back home then?
Gosens: Definitely. My boys still play at the same club in the corner of Emmerich. Whenever they are playing on a Sunday, our WhatsApp group chat is just as busy as it is after one of my games. There’s no difference there. That’s important to me too, because there’s nothing better than amateur football with its charm and everything that goes on around it. If somebody scores a goal then everybody in the group chat shares in that joy, but we also like to laugh when something goes wrong for somebody. I have to imagine what’s happening – I can’t see any images. But if I get nutmegged then it gets filmed right off the TV screen and then sent in every group chat!
DFB.de: With the packed fixture list and international games going on, you probably don’t have much time to visit home. When did you last go back?
Gosens: Sadly I’ve not gone back recently. In the last few months I’ve only been to Germany for the international games. We lived in a bubble and couldn’t visit family or friends, though. That breaks my heart a little. It hurts the spirit because without family and friends nothing is normal for me. We’ve had a rough time in the last few months. When I go home and it fits in, I always try to watch one of the lads’ games. I feel right at home on the amateur pitches. The coolest thing is watching games on the old clay pitches. When I’m there watching the boys with a sausage in my hand, that’s what football is all about for me. That’s why I try to be there as often as possible.
DFB.de: Your last game on clay must have been some time ago?
Gosens: Yeah, that’s true. I really liked to play on the hard court when it had rained and the pitch was wet. It was a bit more complicated in summer when it was 30 degrees and the pitch was bone-dry, because my playing style didn’t necessarily suit those conditions. That said, if a tackle needed to be made on the hard, dry clay then I made it anyway. After that I would have fun carrying the wound around for a few days.