"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
Yet he was critical of your performances as a youth. Did that have a positive impact?
When I played well, he only pushed me on the things that I had done wrong. I think that’s good. There were players in my team whose parents only said he played well and did good things. They never learned from their mistakes. What my father did certainly helped me in terms of my mistakes. And, if I scored three or four goals, he wouldn’t care. He would say to me: ‘You did this wrong and that wrong.’ It helped me a lot.
Did you come from a tough area?
Yes, it’s true [Kleintjeskamp, outside Arnhem]. It is a tough place but it’s nice as well and my father always watched over me. If I did something wrong, he would come to see me. But I spent a lot of the time on the street. Almost every day, I would be on the street playing football and doing some things with friends. He always made sure he watched me and I think that was good.
What was the football like on the streets?
I played against my brothers and my friends. They are really big and, if you see them now, they are like two metres tall. I think that made me strong. I didn’t want to lose to them on the street. We always played on the field and out on the street and we had a stone we used to put it like this [motions down by his feet]. Somebody has to put it on with the ball and, if it falls off, you go out so everybody fights for the ball and you don’t want to lose.
You must be close to your brother – you share a Twitter account…
I have got Twitter with my brother, yes. The Büttner brothers. It’s because he wants to be on Twitter, and me too, so we do it together and he likes it.
The fans appreciate your character - did you know you were their Man of the Match in the game at Sunderland?
Of course. I’d never played at Sunderland before and it’s nice to play in such a big stadium. It’s good that the fans like me, but I want to fight all the time. I want to win every game and I think that this is a good