Weghorst: The signing interview in full

Tuesday 17 January 2023 09:30

Wout Weghorst has conducted his first club media interview since arriving at Manchester United on loan from Burnley for the remainder of the 2022/23 season.

The striker was present at Saturday's Manchester derby too, watching Erik ten Hag's Reds overcome rivals City to earn a valuable three points - and, of course, bragging rights.

Wout discusses the experience of being at Old Trafford for that match in his first interview at the club, along with a host of other topics.

You can find out all about our newest recruit, his personality, and what he hopes to achieve at United by reading every word from our chat below...

Wout Weghorst | The signing interview Video

Wout Weghorst | The signing interview

“It's the right moment to take on this great challenge,” says our new arrival, in a 15-minute signing interview…

Wout, welcome to Manchester United. How excited are you to be able to say you are a United player? 
“Yeah, [I'm] really excited, of course. It’s a great feeling. The last week, of course, when I heard for the first time of their interest it was special and yeah, [I'm] proud that everything is done now. I’m a United player.”

When did you become aware that the move might be on?
“Over a week ago now. My agent called me actually for the first time and I was together with my girl, and she was a little bit shocked because she saw my face and I was like 'oof'. So yeah, it was a special moment and that was really nice, of course.”

For clarification for our fans, how do you pronounce your first name? Is it like ‘Vout Veghorst’?
“Yeah, I take it. I go for it. In Dutch, you say like ‘Vehr-horst’, but the G is, of course, in England, a little bit difficult so, in my time at Burnley, it was also Weghorst. That’s okay.”

What attracted you to this move at this stage of your career? 
“[It's] good for me. Also, to be honest, I think it’s the right moment as I feel as a footballer - I’m 30 years old now. I also already have experience in the Premier League - that was not as successful as I hoped - and I am really waiting and looking forward to getting back here because, in my opinion, it is still the biggest competition in the world and now I’m going to play for one of the biggest clubs in England. For me, [to play for] the biggest club is, of course, amazing, and as I’ve always said as a football player, and also as a human being, the stage I am at now, the [experience] that I have, I am ready for it. This is the right moment to take on this great challenge, of course.”
What are your first impressions of Carrington and here at Old Trafford?
“I have been here for three days and Carrington training ground, of course, it is top class, everything. The training we’ve had already was great and, of course, I was at the [derby] match. It was the first time for me to come to Old Trafford and I always said there are a few stadiums in the world that I only want to go there if I am capable to play there, it is one of them. So for the first time [at Old Trafford], that was actually a really special moment and the atmosphere and everything was really wonderful.”

What a game. Did your family enjoy it as well?
“Yes, yeah, the kids were also there. I think they watched it for 20 minutes. They spoke 15 minutes with me and then, after 20 minutes, my girl took them inside and I could watch the game and take in the atmosphere better. So it was a lovely, lovely game.”

You’ve played in the Premier League before, how much are you looking forward to being back in the league?
“Yeah, really. For me, it was not done, it was not finished. It didn’t work out the first time as I hoped and I’m really hungry to show myself, to help the team. Of course, we are on a really good track now. The last couple of weeks, months actually, it’s going really positive here and I just want to contribute and give my best and give my all for the club and I try to be a part of the successful [direction] we are going.”

Do you know anybody in the squad ahead of visiting?
“I’m good, of course, with the Dutch guys, with Donny [van de Beek] and Tyrell [Malacia]. And for the rest, I didn’t know any guys. I played against some of them, of course, but, yeah, actually the first three days, [I've had] a really great and warm welcome and I think it is a really nice group of lads, I already noticed, so I don’t think that will be any problem.”
Training highlights: Welcome to Carrington, Wout! Video

Training highlights: Welcome to Carrington, Wout!

Training highlights | Watch over six minutes of footage, as Wout Weghorst joins the rest of the squad at Carrington...

And also you have played under former United manager Louis van Gaal. What is your experience of him as a manager, and as a person?
“Yeah, great. For me, he was one of the best trainers I had. He is a really honest person, he is really, I hope it’s good in English, pure. What you see is what you get. Yeah, we had a great relationship and, of course at the World Cup, it could’ve been even more successful than it was. It was really close unfortunately but no, as I have seen, he has a great personality and for me, a great, great trainer.”

You played against United once during your time at Burnley, the 1-1 draw. Can you remember anything about the United away supporters at that match?
“Yeah, of course. I think it was the second match for me, if I’m right, and yeah we took a draw there. That was for us a good result and I can remember the atmosphere. It was raining like hell, the weather was typical England and that was for me one of the – actually [it] was the best match so far for me as a player in England. Of course, because of the atmosphere, not only from the Burnley fans but also from the away fans. It was totally full there so that was a special experience.”

How much are you looking forward to coming out onto the Old Trafford pitch as a United player?
“Yeah, good. That’s clear of course. I can’t wait to get started. There are plenty more games and I noticed it yesterday what’s waiting for me. I can’t wait to get started.”

What are your own personal ambitions as a Manchester United player? 
“Trophies. That’s quite easy. Trophies, and that’s also what the manager told me about, the expectations that are there. Also my role and, yeah, that’s also something I want to bring. Like I earlier said in the interview, I'm just going to give everything I have for the club to be successful, to win the games and, of course, to win trophies. We are still active in four competitions, so yeah, four trophies to go, that’s the only thing that’s counting, and I think also that fits for a big a club as United is.”
You mentioned the manager. How aware are you of his excellent record and what he achieved? You faced him or his teams in the Eredivisie perhaps?
“Yes, yes. They are good. I’m from the Netherlands, of course the players from the national team spoke always a lot about him. The way he is training, the way he is living football, living winning also. So, for me, these are the first days. Of course, I know him quite longer but never worked on a real serious [basis] like we are now. So for me it’s new, but, yeah, you can feel already what the guys have been speaking about. I’m really looking forward to contributing and working together." 

You’ve had a very good scoring record at your previous club Besiktas – about one goal every two matches. Is that something you hope to emulate under Erik ten Hag?
“No, of course, I want to score goals here. I’m a striker and I think every striker knows it; you are living for scoring goals. That’s the thing we have been working all week for to get it done in the weekend and that’s definitely something I want to achieve here also. That’s also what I meant with being part of it and contributing. Of course, for me as a striker, at the end, it’s also all about goals, of course.”

You have now played in four different European leagues. How do they compare with one another?
“After the Eredivisie in the Netherlands, of course I played in the Bundesliga. I think that’s a great competition, also from [the] intensity, tactics. And after the Bundesliga I moved to the Premier League and I noticed it, you can see it, again it’s another level. It’s just like the tempo is really high so that’s why I said also it’s the biggest competition in the world. Of course, now I came from the Turkish league, with the intensity and everything [it has]. But I also managed to be successful there and again I’m looking forward to going [in the Premier League].”

During your time at Burnley, you were among the highest pressing strikers in the Premier League. Is this an element of your game that you feel is important?
“Yeah, I think that’s something that’s one of my strengths. Especially without the ball to put pressure on an opponent, to be active and also these pressures in the time at Burnley had that a lot also. That’s something I am capable of and that’s also something in the way the trainer [Ten Hag] wants to play. He wants to play aggressive, he wants to go high on the pitch, try to recover the ball there as quickly as possible and I think I can help the team with that.”

Confirmed: Weghorst's United number


The Dutch striker will wear a number previously donned by six other Reds.

You are now the 19th player from the Netherlands to represent this club, and United have a rich history of legendary Dutch players, from Robin van Persie, to Ruud van Nistlerooy and Jaap Stam. Have you followed their journeys, and their time at United?
“Yeah, of course, them, for me as a striker, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Robin van Persie, yeah, of course [I followed them]. [When] I was a younger kid you see these games, these matches, these goals with the combination with the fans in the stadium. Yeah, of course, they are things that I definitely remember and definitely memories in my head, yes.”

Were you always a striker growing up? Did you play any other positions? And what happened to make you fall in love with this position?
“Yes. I have been always a striker.”

And who would you say is the biggest influence in your career so far? 
“That’s a good question. I never really had an idol. Of course I always looked up to strikers and followed them and tried to pick up things. I think I am as a person open to learning things. Critical also, to try to take it and try to develop me as a football player, and also as a human being. And the influence at the end of, course, [is] your parents [as they] are also there to bring you up from a young kid to an adult and now, especially when you become a parent on your own. They had a big impact on me, then over the last five years, that’s definitely changed me as a human being. If I have to say one, I will say them.”

You will wear the no.27. Why choose that number?
“Yeah, good. Of course, I looked into the ones that are free or available. Two and seven will make nine, of course – a striker’s number. I had a feeling with it and of course when I came here I heard it was Alex [Telles]’s number, he got loaned out now. So yeah, I first had to ask him if that was ok, so I said to them [United] that was for me important and then in the end there was no problem so thanks to him also. So yeah, I go for the 27 and actually it’s just because I had a good feeling with it.”

Off the pitch, how would you describe yourself? Your character?
“Yeah, off the pitch, around the pitch I will say there is no difference. I am also somebody who what you see is what you get. I think I’m really pure, also quite emotional, and, yeah, a quiet one. I like to be home also, spend time with my family, with the kids of course. Actually, it’s something that’s always been my main thought, is the other things you want to achieve in your life you want to achieve. I always worked really hard for it and I always try to give 100 per cent in everything I did. Whether that is in football related or at home as a dad. I just try to be the best version of me and the best person I can be, to be honest.”