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Muhamed Besic: “I never change my shirts because playing for Bosnia means so much. I don’t have idols. I have never supported a player or a team”

first_img(Source: telegraph) By Chris BascombeWhen it comes to picking up souvenirs against high profile opponents, Everton’s Muhamed Besic admits he is as content collecting yellow cards as trading jerseys.The combative Bosnian caught Roberto Martínez’s eye during the World Cup following a man-marking job on Lionel Messi and is looking forward to a similar challenge against Manchester City’s Yaya Touré at the The Etihad Stadium in their Saturday evening Premier League clash.With a charming honesty, Besic says he has little interest in the status of those he faces.“It was a good experience playing against Messi but did I swap shirts? No. No. I always keep my shirts,” said Besic. “I never change my shirts because playing for Bosnia means so much. I don’t have idols. I have never supported a player or a team. I know it sounds strange but that is just how it is.“I don’t study who I play against, I just play my game. It was the same when I played against Messi. I wouldn’t watch his videos. Only when the manager puts on videos for the whole team will I watch something. I don’t watch it especially for one player. I am confident that in one-against-one, it is difficult to beat me. I just carry on as normal. Against Messi, if he scores, that is down to his quality.”It was City striker Edin Dzeko – Besic’s international team mate – who predicted cult hero status for the midfielder at Goodison and he certainly has the attributes. Most endearing is the 22-year-old’s attitude to what many might consider the ancient art of tackling which is virtually outlawed in the protectionist modern era. He will not shirk a challenge.“If I haven’t got a yellow, I go at 100 per cent – if I get a yellow, maybe then I have to take it easy,” says Besic, with a knowing smile. “My aggression come from inside. It comes from in here,” he adds, beating his chest.“When I was eight-years-old at my first club I played as a No 10 until I was 16 and then I became a central defender. The coach moved me back because he saw that I was aggressive.“But I have to learn about the style of play in England. Pass, pass then maybe one or two tackles. I can tackle as a central defender more but playing as a number six, I have to learn that if I miss the tackle there is space behind me. You have to be patient. I was a centre-back for five or six years and the World Cup was the first time I played as a No 6.“The Everton supporters have seen only about 50 per cent of what they will. I need a bit more time but I hope in another half year when I am really well settled in the league then my quality will come out.“Power and energy is my biggest strength but I have more so I need a bit more time to show it. I can dribble, for example, but I have not done that yet because I need time to feel the spaces, because the football is so fast here. In one second you can have ten players on you.“It’s physical and very fast football. I like it but I am a little bit skinny so I need a to put bit more weight on. I am in the gym a lot.”Besic admits the World Cup changed the direction of his career. Raised in Germany, but clinging to his Bosnian heritage he turned down the chance to play for his adopted country.“I have no regrets,” he said. “I had an approach to play for Germany’s Under-19s. Maybe it would have been better for my career to choose Germany but my heart always said Bosnia. The people have a strong mentality. I can’t explain why but back in Bosnia I feel better.”Having risen to prominence at Hamburg, Everton eventually signed Besic from Hungarian side Ferencvaros for £4 million in the summer. The midfielder thought he was heading for Swiss football before Martínez’s intervention.“The World Cup was a big step because if I hadn’t gone maybe I wouldn’t be playing here,” he said. “I’d be in Switzerland, for example. At Basel. They were interested. But after the World Cup everton came in and clubs from Italy and Spain as well.“To be honest I knew nothing about Everton but learned from Roberto Martínez. He told me how big the history of the club is and how passionate the fans are. They’re crazy for Everton. Other clubs in other countries were interested but for me Roberto Martínez was very important. Swansea were interested too but I said then I only want to go to Everton.”A visit to the champions represents Besic’s biggest test yet, but if there are any 50-50 challenges with Touré, the Everton man is sure he will emerge victorious.“Yes. I am confident in my ability,” he said.last_img read more