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Jan Zamburek On Viborg FF, Brentford And Working Under Thomas Frank

Jan Zamburek On Viborg FF, Brentford And Working Under Thomas Frank

An interview with Jan Žambůrek, by Callum McFadden for WFi.

You came through the youth system at Slavia Prague. What are your memories of those early years as a footballer?

“I started playing football at Bohemians 1905 before moving on to Slavia as a teenager.

“Slavia are one of the biggest clubs in the Czech Republic along with Sparta Prague and Victoria Plzen so to go there was a great feeling.

“We had a very good youth system and I developed a lot as a player while I was at the club. 

”I am thankful for the part that they played in my development as a professional footballer.“

You moved to Brentford in 2018. Was moving to England something that immediately appealed to you?

“For sure. Brentford came to watch me several times and made their interest in me clear.

“I was unsure whether to move at the time because I was only 17 years old when they made their move for me. 

“Ultimately, my ambition was always to play abroad and it felt too good to turn down even at that age.

“Brentford helped me settle in quickly and their commitment to developing young players like myself for the first team was appealing.”

What was Thomas Frank like to work with?

“Thomas was fantastic to work with as was Brian Reimer who was his assistant manager until very recently. 

“Both of them work really well together and I learned so much from each of them.

“They are brilliant coaches and they worked with every player at the club to improve their individual game and the collective game of the team.

”It is no surprise to me that Brentford are succeeding in the Premier League having worked with Thomas and his staff first-hand. 

“Overall, I enjoyed my time at Brentford under them because the level of player that we had was high.

“Said Benrahma and Ivan Toney were there. You could see right away in training just how good they were.

”Said is the best player that I have played with in my career so far. His talent is crazy!

“I learned a lot from training and players alongside them and it was great to be around the club as they won promotion to the Premier League.“

You also spent time on loan at Shrewsbury Town while in England. What was that experience like for you?

“Shrewsbury was a great learning experience for me. It was my first loan as a player and playing in League One was beneficial to my development.

“It is a physical league and I went there having played a lot of reserve games so it was amazing to play real competitive football in the professional league set up in England.

“We were fighting to stay in the league and playing under that pressure was something that taught me a lot because you need to be able to handle pressure to succeed as a footballer at any level.”

You signed for your current club, Viborg FF, of the Danish Superliga in 2022. How would you sum up your time at the club so far?

“I already knew about the club prior to joining because of the close links between Danish football and Brentford. 

“The move felt right for me because I wanted to go and play regularly and prove myself in a competitive league. 

“Viborg gave me the opportunity to do that and I was excited to come here.

“I am loving life at the club and the Danish league is a strong league. 

“The game in Denmark is more tactical than the English game, I would say. We put a lot of focus on set pieces and marginal gains in all areas from free kicks to throw-ins.

“Tactically and technically, the level is very good in Denmark and the league has produced many players over the years who have went on to succeed in Europe’s top five leagues.”

You have played in European competition with Viborg FF. What has your experience of playing across the continent been like?

“Playing in Europe is something that every player wants to do. We played in the qualifying rounds of the Europa Conference League and made it to the playoffs were we played against West Ham United.

“That was a great test for me and for everyone at the club. It was a tough experience if you look at the scoreline over both legs but it was an experience that will stand the club in good stead.

“Playing in Europe gives you a good comparison to the levels of other European leagues and allows you to test yourself in new environments. I hope I can do that again in the future.”

Your manager at Viborg FF is Jacob Friis. What have you learned from your time under his leadership?

“Jacob is a coach with a strong tactical understanding of the game. 

“He wants us to press our opponents and he prepares us with even the minute details about our opponents to ensure that we are fully prepared for every game.

“I am a technical player who likes to get on the ball from midfield and he encourages that with myself and the team.

Finally, Jan, you have represented the Czech Republic at every youth level up to the under-21 squad. Do you hope to play for the full national team in years to come?

”Playing for the full national team is my dream. I have loved my time with the under 21’s. We recently qualified for the European Championship at that age ground which was a huge achievement for us.

“I am honoured to have played for every youth age group in my career so far. I am excited to for us to play at the European Championship and I hope that we can go as far as possible. 

”In the future, I would also like to play in one of Europe’s top five leagues. I want to play at the highest level of the game that I can.

“That is my aim at both club and international level.”