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The Big Interview: Jonathan Spector

Posted: Fri 11 Jul 2014
Author: Andy Walker

Jonathan Spector

Image by: Roy Smiljanic

Andy Walker speaks to Blues' Mr Versatility, Jonathan Spector, about pre-season, overcoming injury and the US of A at the World Cup.

We'll start with the standard question at this time of the year - how's pre-season going?

"Yeah, it's going well. I think we've got a good group of lads, we're all getting to know each other pretty well on this trip which is important because there's quite a few new faces. We're also putting the work in, getting fit, working technically and physically so it has been very positive so far."

Your time at the club has been a little bit stop-start with injuries, knocks, niggles etc. Are you hoping to put that behind this season?

"Each season I've done everything I can to come back and be fully fit. Obviously last season it was difficult because it was just a blow to the face (which resulted in a broken cheekbone during a behind-closed-doors game against MK Dons in Dublin), one of those freak accidents, and then you're just playing catch up for the rest of the season. So it was a bit frustrating for me but hopefully this one will be injury free for me."

Are you enjoying being in full stride during pre-season?

"It is good. I had a lot of time during the off season to work on some things I needed to personally to make sure I came back fully fit so barring any freak accidents, I'm certainly looking forward to the start of the season."

There's some debate among supporters and the manager was asked during his recent webchat about your best position - whether it's right-back, centre-half or central midfield. What's your thoughts on that? 

"I've always said that I am just happy to be playing. I am one of those players who has that versatility and can fill in in just about any role. I understand the manager wants to play me where he sees fit for that game or what he think the team needs against a particular opponent. So I am happy to play that role. Personally, I like playing in the middle be that in midfield or as a centre-half. Ultimately centre-half is probably a really good position for me as it's where I started my career and could be where I end it."

What a summer is has been for American soccer. What was it like watching on as a player and a fan? 

"It was fantastic. Obviously it was massively disappointing to miss out on it but it was a very different experience from the last World Cup as I went and was there whereas this one I was able to view it from the outside which was significantly different. Also, I was able to see how it was really catching on in the United States. It's fantastic to see the coverage the sport is getting on American television, in the print media and online. It has just been incredible and hopefully that continues. It has been said that soccer is only big in the US every four years because of the World Cup but hopefully with the improving product of the MLS there will be more people who follow it regularly rather than every four years. On the other hand, I know that the Premier League is certainly followed more than the MLS but you can understand why with the quality that is in England."

Was it hard to watch USA at the World Cup?

"At times, yes. I felt more nervous not being there than when you're on the pitch because you can't have an impact on the outcome. In that sense, it was very difficult to watch but I was delighted to see how well the team did. The spirit was fantastic and it really caught fever pitch in the United States."

Regarding the work ethic and passion that the USA displayed at the World Cup, is that ingrained in the American psyche or is that something that Jurgen Klinsmann has helped to bring out?

"A bit of both. I think it's definitely there and I think you'll find that the majority of Americans who have been over in England have all had a fantastic attitude and work ethic as that's part of what gives them an opportunity to play here. That's one of the qualities and characteristics that managers over here find appealing. I think Jurgen Kinsmann, as a manager, has just sort of tapped into that and got the most out of that."

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