"I could have gone elsewhere, but if a club like Manchester United wants you, then, for me, it’s a quick decision because I think it’s the most beautiful club in the world. Everyone wants to play for Manchester United."
- Alex Büttner
In an interview first published in Inside United, Reds defender Alex Büttner reviews his first season in England and reflects on his upbringing in Holland...
So, how did it feel to pick up a league winners’ medal in your first season at United – pretty good, we’d imagine?
Yes, of course. I think my first season went really well. In total, I appeared 13 times so I think I’m part of the team now. For the first couple of months, I had to improve and it was difficult to be away from my family and friends. Now, I’ve started to enjoy it here and I think my first season was fantastic.
Sir Alex Ferguson said you didn't miss a training session all season…
I never miss training sessions. I want to train every day, and train hard to be better every day. Everyone can see that. I think the whole team does that, and me too.
Were you gently eased into life at United?
It took time to settle in because I didn’t come from a very big club. It was only a small club in Holland so, for me, to go from Vitesse Arnhem to Manchester United was a big step. For the first couple of months I had to settle in and now it’s starting to feel good. I feel at home here. I play good football and train very hard.
How did the move come about? It was said that Southampton were also keen on you…
Not only Southampton but four or five other clubs in England, Germany and France. I could have gone elsewhere, but if a club like Manchester United wants you, then, for me, it’s a quick decision because I think it’s the most beautiful club in the world. Everyone wants to play for Manchester United and me also, which is why I chose United.
When did you get to speak to Sir Alex?
The day after I signed. I knew him only from the TV – everyone knows he’s a big man and a fantastic manager. It was the same for me too. I was a little bit nervous when I met him that first time, but he’s a really nice man and a good trainer. I enjoyed working for him.
You’re a left-back now but you used to play further forward…
I played as a forward before. I’ve been at left-back for a few years now and I like that position. I can talk well with Pat [Evra] and he’s played for many years on a high level. He helped me very much in my first season here.
Patrice was also a winger at one time – does it help a full-back to know what it’s like to play there?