Footy-Boots Interviews A Key Member of England’s U-21 European Championship Team
With the start of the UEFA U-21 Championships this week, the England U-21 team has a great chance of bringing the trophy home as one of the favourites who are in sparkling form. Footy-Boots caught up with England defender and Umbro football boot wearer Nedum Onuoha before he flew out to Holland for a chat about the tournament, and his trusty football boots and are giving our readers the chance to Win a host of Umbro goodies!
FB: The England seniors played at the new Wembley last week, have you been there yet?
NO: Yes and what I’ve heard from the players that played there it was absolutely outstanding, one the best places they have ever played in
FB: You were called up to the England U21 squad for the European Championship by Stuart Pearce in an unusual way – how did it feel to get called up by text!
NO: It was strange because I was in the cinema, as soon as I came out I found out I was in the squad for the tournament, so that was a nice little surprise at the end of the film!
FB: What is your view on England’s chances of winning the tournament in Holland -England go in as one of the favourites and are unbeaten since 2005?
NO: England are seen as one of the favourites but I think all the teams that qualified have got an equal chance – I think it will be the little things that make the difference, say a little magic by certain players that are in the squad that will hopefully turn up in the right frame for the games to win all the games and go on to win the tournament.
FB: Who do you think will be the key men for England?
NO: At the back you have players such as Steven Taylor and Anton Ferdinand they’ve played a lot together. In midfield you’ve got Tom Huddlestone, the captain Nigel Reo-Coker, then we’ve got an awesome strike-force David Nugent, James Vaughan, Matt Derbyshire – the list is endless! I’ll be very surprised if we don’t score any goals!
FB: Which teams do you think will give England the toughest games?
NO: The toughest game will be the Italy game, not because it is just Italy but because the two teams have already met and it will be like you have to show more if you want to win the game.
FB: England play three games in 6 days next week, do you expect to start all three of the matches against Italy, Serbia and Czech Republic?
NO: I would not mind to be honest!
FB: Which two teams do you see coming through Group A from Belgium, Israel, Netherlands and Portugal?
NO: I would probably say Holland and Portugal, but you never know especially in international football. Israel are supposed to be very, very good. For me though I would still see Holland and Portugal progressing to the next stage.
FB: How do you feel playing for your former club manager Stuart Pearce?
NO: Its quite good – I’ve played under him before and hopefully if I can play to my strengths as well as the rest of the team, the trophy might be ours!
FB: Any thoughts on the next Manchester City manager?
NO: I don’t know- but if you here any news let me know!
FB: Is it true you were called up for the Nigerian national team?
NO: Yes that was true. I was called up to the training camp maybe a month or two months ago and I recently had a call from the Nigerian manager as well. He is going to come and see me in August.
FB: Do you have a preference of who you would like to play for: Nigeria or England?
NO: It is a massive decision for me because I have family in both places – I was bought up in England but was born in Nigeria. I was in Nigeria for the first 5 or 6 years of my life so that is obviously a big part of my life, with the traditions and culture for instance. But England is where I have been playing. Its all about making the right decision at the right time.
FB: What was your first football boot?
NO: Reebok’s like Ryan Giggs used to wear back in the day!
FB: What football boots have you worn before Umbro?
NO: I used to wear the Umbro Specialis – but I drifted around in the early days because it was more about what I could get my hands on.
FB: When and why did you switch to Umbro?
NO: It was when I was training and playing full time. The scouts must have been watching me because I have been wearing Umbro since I was a city academy player aged 14. I like the Umbro football boots and Umbro liked me so it made sense to get together, then everyone wins!
FB: How do you decide and test a new boot?
NO: I get sent boots and when I open the box if I like the look of them I try them out. I usually get through eight pairs a season. I usually wear them a while during training to break them in and then they are ready for the game!
FB: Do you have to pay for your boots?
NO: No – but I have been known in the past if I see an interesting pair of boots that look nice I’ll just buy them myself.
FB: Which boots do you currently wear?
NO: Umbro X Boot Destroyer – black white and blue. I have been wearing this model since Xmas time as the styles usually change every 6 months or so.
FB: Are they customised?
NO: No – but I am thinking about doing something like that in the future
FB: How do you choose which boots you will be wearing in a game depending on the surface?
NO: Usually for training I always wear moulds. But for a game its always studs. In England at least you can usually wear studs all the way through the season. But I change my football boots depending on kits as well – not in terms of a fashion thing but more about matching the football boot colours to the kit I am wearing.
FB: What do you think of these bright coloured boots how do the pros feel when they see a player coming out in a bright orange or yellow boot?
NO: I think the game has changed a lot recently – a few years ago it seemed everyone was wearing black boots, but now if I go away and am wearing black boots I could be only player in a squad of 18 wearing black boots. Colour is not so much of an issue now in football boots because players have got such high ability levels that they can wear yellow boots and play really well in them.
FB: Do you have any routines or rituals with regards your boots?
NO: I put my boots on 1 minute before I go out for the warm up, whilst other players mostly have them on for a long time. I also keep tying my laces up even when they are tight I feel like I have to undo them and make them tight again! I just don’t want to have the comedy cartoon moment of tripping up in them!
FB: Were you ever a boot boy at Manchester City?
NO: Not a boot boy, but I was a ball boy for two years – but I used to look after the football boots of the academy manager back in my academy days now and again.
FB: You are noted for his speed, do Umbro football boots help you run faster?!
NO: Umbro football boots are lightweight and protective and they also feel very comfortable. I’ve had experiences in the past when wearing football boots that feel “heavy” you feel like the boot is dragging you down, when you are trying to focus on where you need to be as quickly as possible.
FB: What protection do the new lightweight boots give you, are you confident in the protection, especially in the light of the recent metatarsal injuries?
NO: I am very confident in the boots which I wear now, the Umbro X Boot Destroyer, there is a lot of heel protection and other factors in the boots which make me feel good in myself. I have yet to pick up a foot injury in the five years I’ve been wearing Umbro, so that is something clearly to do with the boots I have been wearing!
FB: Thanks very much for your time – we really appreciate it, and we wish you all the best next week with England!
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