In 2017, Pascal Groß (photo) left the recently relegated FC Ingolstadt for England. The German, born in Mannheim, made the move to Brighton & Hove Albion and quickly became a top performer for the “Seagulls.” In a Transfermarkt interview, the attacking midfielder talks about his chances with the national team, his club’s tremendous efforts before his signing , his “unfortunate” second year in the Premier League, and the overall behaviors in professional football.
Transfermarkt: Mr. Groß, your club Brighton & Hove Albion is fighting to stay in the Premier League again this year. How intense and exhausting is the relegation battle in the Premier League?
Pascal Groß: It’s intense and exhausting. There are important games every week. There’s no game you can go in and think: We’ll win that for sure now. Each team has a great squad and top players that can hurt any other teams. That’s why every game is hard, right now at the end of the season, but we hope that we can continue to win in the league.
Transfermarkt: You have been relegated from the Bundesliga with Ingolstadt in 2017. To what extent do you benefit from the experience of fighting to stay in a league?
Groß: I think that it helps. In such a phase you should prioritize and focus 100 percent on football, stay calm, believe in your strengths and work hard professionally. If you stick together, you also get the right results. If not, there are groupings, ego trips, and bad moods, so you have to try to uplift the mood and address things internally. You should not lose a certain amount of fun. That’s the key – and we already have it.
Transfermarkt: In the “Seagulls” squad you were internally voted player of the season after your first season, however while in Germany you are largely under the radar. Does this annoy you?
Groß: What does annoy mean? I think it’s true that in Germany I’m under the radar because I’ve played for clubs that are not so much in the public eye or as talked about, but here I feel I have high recognition. It’s nice when performance is valued. I know that’s the case and that’s why I’m not mad at all.
Transfermarkt: How would you personally rate your second year in the Premier League at the present time?
Groß: Unhappy. I’ve never been hurt in my life, and had to miss some games. Now I had two injuries, which are annoying, but when I played, I did well I think. Unfortunately, these two injuries have thrown me back and taken me out of rhythm.
Transfermarkt: In the last two years you have increased your market value in our TM database from 4 to 10 million euros. Is there more to come?
Groß: (smiles) You have to judge that. I just try to perform, play well and help the team. I love football and work very hard for it. I hope that I will be rewarded with success in packed stadiums full of fans. That’s why you play football.
Transfermarkt: National team coach Joachim Löw is pushing forward the change of the national team. Do you, as a former junior international, hope for a call up to the National team?
Groß: Not really. Of course, I see players under 29 that are apparently too old, that’s difficult. I’m 27, I’ll be 28 in June, so I’m realistic enough to realize it’s probably not going to happen anymore. You never know what’s coming in life, but right now I do not think about it.
Transfermarkt: In the summer of 2017 you moved from Ingolstadt to the recently promoted Premier League side. How did the transfer come about exactly then?
Chris Hughton, Red.), Which is always the most important thing for me. The responsible people made a great effort for me.Groß: Brighton wanted me a year ago, and always tried to get me. They were very active, I have to say. At the first conversation they showed me the scouting report they had gathered on me. The 40 to 50 page scouting report on me was really impressive. It contained everything about my private life, and every game, strengths and weaknesses. They knew everything, were present at almost every match live. In the report, I found myself again and said, ‘Yes, that’s how I see it too.’ There was a huge interest from the club and the coach (
Transfermarkt: Was there anything in your scouting report that you disapproved of?
Groß: There are always little things, but by and large, I recognized myself in the report, and found them to be top-professionals.
Transfermarkt: After the talk how did the process continue?
Groß: I was here looking at the training center, the stadium, and the city. I thought twice or three times because it was a big step for me. In the end, I was very convinced, they gave me a good feeling. So I said to myself: I’m trying the step into the Premier League.
Transfermarkt: In winter, Liverpool FC are said to have been interested in your signing. What was true about the rumors?
Groß: I have heard nothing of it myself, and have only received the article from friends. But actually there was nothing in it.
Transfermarkt: Were there any other requests and offers, especially after your strong first year with the “Seagulls”?
Groß: There have always been requests from lower clubs, but that was not an issue for me at the time. There were one or two things from Germany. After my first year, I definitely did not want to go away, and I wanted to continue to play in the Premier League, that’s what I told my agent.
Transfermarkt: How can the club Brighton & Hove Albion be described in a few sentences?
Groß: Brighton is a big club because they play in the Premier League, but they’re also very modern in England, with a new training center and a new stadium. The club is also family oriented and at the heart of the club is owner Tony Bloom, who comes from Brighton. He loves the club and wants to bring them forward.
Transfermarkt: Before your signing in England you had played 70 Bundesliga games for Ingolstadt and Hoffenheim. What aspects did you find most surprising after moving to Brighton?
Groß: From the hardness, the physical play, and the speed, everything is a little bit different. There are fewer breaks, more running. It’s more back and forth, there is more speed in the game. I like that, think that’s great. I’m impressed by the league, the games are fun.
Transfermarkt: Are there things in English football and club life that is still unusual after two years?
Groß: Of course everything is a bit different, that’s normal. We Germans are very disciplined. If you always arrive on time and do your job well, you’ll be told: ‘That’s typically German.” We’re known for that. This is not cool here.
Transfermarkt: You have a contract until June 2022. What new challenge would you like in the future?
Groß: On the one hand, I would like to continue playing in the Premier League. Of course, I would also like to return to the Bundesliga again sometime. The English clubs have some advantages with the investors behind the scenes and are perhaps better positioned at the moment. Nevertheless, the Bundesliga is still a good league with great clubs. I still watch a lot of games myself.
Transfermarkt: England or Germany, where does your career end as a professional footballer?
Groß: You never know what’s going on in football, but I’m assuming my retirement will be in Germany. I definitely wanted to see and experience it all here and I’m happy to play at the highest level in the Premier League. Nevertheless, I am someone who someday wants to return home and play again in Germany at the highest level.
Transfermarkt: And after the end of your career?
Groß: I think that I am very football crazy and want to stay connected to football, if it is somehow possible. Sport is my thing, I have always put a lot of passion into it.
Transfermarkt: What do you have in mind: coach or manager?
Groß: That’s to be determined. Maybe I’m more of a coach type.
Transfermarkt: In times of madness you were a bargain with a transfer of 3 million euros. What do you think about your development in the transfer market?
Groß: I was of course a bargain (smiles) with my price. Otherwise, the fees are crazy, but now apparently a bit more normal, because many clubs are willing to pay.
Transfermarkt: Which aspects of professional football do you not like?
Groß: Like everything in life, there are pros and cons. Sometimes I do not approve of the tricks that players and clubs play with each other. As a player not to come to training, or to change your play, just to be able to leave the club, I think is not okay. As a player, I would never do that, it just is not right. Conversely the tricks clubs play to get players to leave is also wrong. It is a sad development that players and clubs have to be dishonest in order to get their way.
Transfermarkt: How do you perceive being an older professional in England?
Groß: I think it’s great, how older and retiring players are valued. They get respect and acknowledgement for their previous years accomplishments. Of course we live in competitive sports and have to deal with tough decisions, that’s normal and good. But a little bit of gratitude, behavior and humanity should always be there.
Interview: Philipp Marquardt (PhilippMrq)
Original in German