With one Englishman down this season, I managed to catch up with the other remaining Brit plying their trade across in Belgium…But unfortunately not for too much longer.
After a short chat regarding where and when was best for the Scouser, Jordan Mustoe was more than happy to save me some time travelling, and money if I’m honest, and arranged a telephone interview Friday night.
The polite Westerlo left back was on his way to Manchester, via Amsterdam, and took some of his time out to talk a little bit about Belgium, Martinez and…Chinese?:
So Jordan, hows life been in Belgium the 2 years you’ve been over there?
Yeah been here 2 years and I’ve really enjoyed it. First couple of months were a little difficult, new experience for me, but after 3 or 4 months it became my home.
Have you tried learning the language?
NO. I had a go at the start but it was too difficult. I managed to pick a few of the words up but i found it too difficult. I’d rather just speak English really.
So how did the move to Westerlo actually come about?
My manager from Evo Management, he works with someone in London, and then he got in contact with an English guy who’s been living in Bruges for 25 years and he was close with the Westerlo manager, Dennis van Wijk, so I ended up going on a four day trial there.
Now that you’ve moved abroad, would you prefer to stay abroad?
Now that I’ve played abroad, I think it opens me up to more teams abroad. I might have a better chance of a good team coming out of the Belgian league. I’ve told my management that I’m open to offers anywhere in the world really.
Because your contract is up at the end of the season isn’t it?
Yeah it’s finished. We’re all looking for offers right now to see what we can do.
Are there any offers for you right now?
They’re trying to sort something out. I’m not sure if Westerlo will offer me something but to be honest, I don’t think going to the second division is a right move for me. But it is early doors isn’t it. I’m relaxed about it. No need to start panicking…Until July (with a slight laughter).
Why do you think English players tend to stay at home?
I was the same. I didn’t think I’d end up in Belgium or Europe anyway. I’m happy I came across and I think more players from England should. It’s a better standard than League 2/ League 1. If you do go abroad, it’s a different style of play which may suit certain players.
Would you say there’s been an improvement in Belgium, especially the way teams have performed in the Europa League?
I’d say a little bit yeah to be honest. You get more recognised when you do have these teams in the Champions League and Europa League performing better. I’m not sure if I recognise that myself because I’m in Belgium and I play in the Belgian league cause when I was back in England, I wasn’t paying attention to any Belgian teams.
You had a good run in the side and then didn’t feature at all. How frustrating was that for you?
Yeah it was frustrating. I had a run of 14 games. I started off out of the team and then the manager changed, put me in for these 14 games, lost a few on a run, changed the defence and then won and drew the next 2 games, which was my luck. That was a bit unfortunate for me but that’s swings and roundabouts in football. Like when I first got in the team, we went on a good run. But it is frustrating. I’m used to playing games from January til the end of the season and then I’d get a contract and wherever I go next, hopefully these lack of games won’t affect me too much in the future.
You’ve had 4 managers in you short spell at the club. Has that affected you off the pitch as well as on? That’s the equivalent of having a manager every 6 months after all.
It affects me when I’m not playing, but with each manager I had spells as their No.1 full back, even recently, in December I had a conversation with the manager saying I want you to play the next game, you’re the strongest full back I have at the club and literally, that was against Standard Liege, I gave away a hand ball, they score a penalty. Afterwards, next game, he changed it. Sometimes it’s a bit of luck you need.
Unfortunately, even though Westerlo are down, who else do you think may go? Silvère Ganvoula M’Boussy has already gone, who do you think may follow?
There’s a lot of of players out of contract so I think a lot will move on. I don’t know if anyone has anything lined up. I think only 5,6 or 7 players are contracted for next season. We’ll have to wait and see.
Speaking of managers previously, did you ever see Roberto Martinez taking over Belgium the way they currently are whilst you were playing under him at Wigan?
His management and tactics, he is very good so it didn’t surprise me but I think he did very well getting the job off of the back of not doing so well at Everton. He had a good go there (at Everton) for a while, but I think in the end, Everton can be a bit of a difficult team to manage, the fans can be hard at Goodison. He deserves a good job.
You were sent out on loan a fair bit at Wigan. How much did that help you with your progression?
I wish I did it earlier. I think I went out at 21, I should’ve done it at 19. But I was doing well in the first team. I should’ve been pushing to go out on loan earlier but in the end it worked out well.
When you were at Liverpool as a kid, was there anyone you tried to base your game on at the club?
To be honest…No. Even now I don’t watch anyone really. It’s just the way I’ve always been. Always been a bit laid back. Never really watched a lot of football when I was younger. I just really enjoyed playing.
So does that mean you didn’t watch Djimi Traore?
No, i never really watched a lot of Djimi (as he slightly chuckled)
Coming towards the end, I thought I’d ask some random questions, just to see how the player was off the pitch, apart from the first…
What were your favourite boots you ever had?
The old Adidas Predators when I was 10,11,12.
What’s your favourite dinner?
I might have one tonight if I’m home early enough!
What do you usually have?
Sweet & sour chicken, to be honest, I usually get a banquet and we all share.
So what cartoons did you watch as a child?
The Simpsons. I never watched much telly but never missed The Simpsons.
And where is your favourite holiday destination?
Vegas or Dubai. Different holidays. Both top level. Vegas was a good one!
And on that note I thanked him, wished him good luck with next season, wherever he may turn up, wished him a good Chinese and safe travels. Such a polite player who seemed focussed but maybe a bit down trodden, not only regarding his clubs relegation, but maybe as well, the fact he never got given the chance to help do anything about it on the pitch. I also want to thank the press officer at KVC Westerlo for being so helpful arranging this.
I’ll sign off by saying that I hope Westerlo are able to bounce back from this next season and build for the future!