Sotiris Alexandropoulos, one of the great hopes of Greek football in the coming years, spoke exclusively to SPORT24 about the national team and his dreams with the blue and white, about Gustavo Poget, about his start at Sporting Lisbon, but also about the facts which according to him he should improve in his game.
THE Sotiris Alexandropoulos is one of our hopes for the future. At just 21 years old, he has shown signs of his ability and if he stays healthy and grounded, he has all the makings of a great career.
Sporting invested in his talent, bought him from Panathinaikos for the next five years and even put a clause of 60,000,000 euros. He believes in him so much and he himself wants more than anything to justify the “lions” for their choice.
The young midfielder could not but be in Gustavo Poget’s calls for the National team, since he possesses elements that not many Greek footballers have. So far he has five international caps.
He spoke exclusively to SPORT24 ahead of the two matches with Cyprus in Larnaca (24/9, 21:45, Novasports Prime and ALPHA, LIVE on SPORT24) and Northern Ireland in Rizoupoli (27/9, 21:45, Novasports Prime and ALPHA , LIVE on SPORT24) for the Nations League.
He talked about his dreams with our representative group, the change that has come with Poget on the bench, his start in Portugal, but also the football elements that distinguish him, but also what he wants to improve.
With Poget, the extra passion and “win or nothing” came in, we have the mentality of the winner
What has changed in the national team with Poget on the bench? We see a very different picture.
“The bases were already there, we had created a two-way team and we had a good and healthy dressing room. With Mr. Poget, the extra passion and ‘win or nothing’ came in. We now have the mentality of the winner”.
In terms of training and approach to matches, how are things with him?
“Because we are together for a few days, we cannot work on everything we want. We give a special basis to the defensive part and we have specific rules. Up front we trust our quality and we have some small automations. The coach manages to get the strong elements from each player” .
The coach mentioned recently that he is trying to get you players to start thinking in blue and white again. What did he mean?
“The message was clear. When we are all together here, we only think about the national team. We leave our clubs out of our heads, because there we have different systems and approach. We have to do in a short period of time everything that we have to and what he tells us. Of course we have to be correct in our responsibilities as well. To be gentlemen on and off the field, to pay attention to our behavior, to be correct in games and in training.”
Our goal is to go to a big event
It’s still early days, but does this team have what it takes to qualify for the next Euro? He has been absent from many major events in recent years.
“Our aim is to go to a big competition. We look at it game by game and that way we will be able to reach what we want. It is not good for us to think long term. Now we look at the next two games we have to play.” .
How do you see your own role in this National Team that is being built?
“I am very happy to be in the National Team and I will continue to train hard to continue being part of this team. I want to be in good shape and be selected by the coach. Through hard training I will wait for my opportunity. Step step to improve and feel even more important. Patience, work and I will succeed”.
I have speed and good technique, I want to improve my options in the last part of the pitch
Are you a modern player, do you consider yourself a six or an eight? Where do you like to compete the most and perform best?
“I can compete equally well in the ‘6’ and the ‘8’. I believe that with the 3-4-3 I stick better with this system, I will develop even more and become more important for the National Team”.
What would you say are your good points and what do you need to improve on?
“I think I have speed, which you find difficult. Either with or without the ball. I press the opponent a lot, I have good runs, height and strength. For my age I’m a player who wants the ball, I don’t hide. My technique also it is at a good level, but still needs improvement.
My shot is good in training, but I want to put it into matches as well. This is a brain piece and it will come. I also want to improve my choices in the last part of the court, making the final decision. To be more efficient and help the team.
There are other things I want to work on, like for example the contact with the left foot. There is room for improvement, as do my headers. Because I have height to be better in static phases”.
The national team is the most important team that a footballer can play for
We now play two matches against Cyprus and Northern Ireland and we have already qualified. Do you take it a bit more relaxed or as if something is being judged?
“What I see is that we are preparing as if nothing has been decided. We will fight 100% to win both games, regardless of whether we have already taken first place in our group in the Nations League.”
What are your own ambitions with the National team?
The national team is very important to me. The most important team a footballer can play for. I am happy to be a member from a young age and already have entries. I want to go to a big event. To maintain myself at a high level in the coming years and to be a member of the National Team. I wish I could write my own story in the blue and white shirt.”
I like Valverde and Verratti, I want to combine elements from various and to create a perfect template
Do you have a football role model?
“I don’t have exactly one player that I admire and want to be like. I combine elements from various footballers and want to create a perfect template. For example, I like Real Madrid’s Valverde without saying that I want to be like him. I like Verratti too, regardless of his lack of height. I watch a lot of players to get their good stuff and incorporate it into my game.”
Tell me a few words about your start in Portugal with Sporting? It’s a big change for you, a new challenge.
“It is my first adventure abroad. I feel ready and proud to have taken such a step. I am chasing daily improvement and establishment.”
Is there a team you dream of playing for in the future?
“Right now I’m where I want to be. I’m very happy with what I’ve seen. I’ve made my debut in the Champions League, I’ve made my first appearances. I’ll be able to say more when I make my name. I still have a way to go , I’ve only been there 20 days, it’s just the beginning”.
Are you watching the Greek league? Your former team is off to a great start so far. Can he top it this year or is it still early days?
“I have watched some games. I am happy for the good start of Panathinaikos. The first samples are positive and I hope my old teammates and friends continue the good course and achieve their goals”.