Martin Dubravka signes for Manchester United on loan.

Q&A: Martin Dubravka's signing interview

Thursday 01 September 2022 17:59

Martin Dubravka has conducted his first interview after signing for Manchester United on a loan deal from Newcastle United.

The 33-year-old goalkeeper became our second arrival of transfer deadline day after the permanent signing of Anthony from Ajax. He is obviously incredibly excited to get started and begin a chapter in his career that sees him fulfil a childhood dream.

You can read the full transcript below, where Dubravka opens up on what the big move means to him.

Martin, welcome to Manchester United. How excited are you to be able to say you are a United player?
"Thank you so much. It's a very exciting time for me, it's a massive step in my career again, so I'm happy to be here."

When did you become aware that the move might be on?
"I would say a week ago the conversations started between the agents and the clubs and after that they informed me that there is a chance to join them. I said 'OK, let's do it' and I'm here now."

What attracted you to this move at this stage of your career?
"It's a massive club with a fantastic fanbase. Great history, so hopefully we have good times ahead of us as well."

And what are your first impressions of Carrington and the set-up here?
"It's great facilities here, so many pitches. Friendly people, so it's a very nice environment."

Martin Dubravka | The signing interview Video

Martin Dubravka | The signing interview

Get to know Martin Dubravka, our loanee from Newcastle, by watching his signing interview in full...

And growing up, what did the name Manchester United mean to you and were there any specific players you admired?
"I think everyone in the world knows what Manchester United is. In my country it's [United] huge and obviously every kid dreams to play for a club like this so, as I said, I'm very happy to be here."

There's a strong goalkeeping unit here. How much are you looking forward to knowing the guys better and to working with the likes of David De Gea, Tom Heaton, and all the staff?
"As you said, David and Tom here, with the young goalies as well, I'm looking forward to meeting them and getting to know each other and working with them and looking forward to the future."

Do you know anybody in the squad ahead of visiting?
"No, not really. I've never really had the chance to play with any of them but I had a chance to play against them so it will be nice to see them again."

Your Newcastle debut was against Manchester United, you kept a clean sheet in a home win at St James' Park. How much does that moment stand out in your memory?
"It was my debut so obviously that's one of the best moments in my career, especially in England. To play against Manchester United, win with a clean sheet, that's the bonus so it will always stick in my mind. It couldn't be better, I think."

And what are your memories of generally playing against Manchester United?
"It's been always tough to play [against], legendary players play for this club, so it's a privilege and an honour for me to be here."

You've played as an away player at Old Trafford. How much would you love that opportunity to play there in front of your own fans as a Manchester United player?
"It is a special place to play, obviously. I had the opportunity a couple of times to play there as [an] away player, so it would be nice to see fans now on my side or our side."

I know footballers like to see who moves where in the transfer window. What have you made of all the signings the club has made this summer?
"[They are] interesting signings, I'm looking forward to meeting them. I'm one of them so I'm looking forward to being in the dressing room and having a conversation, and meeting each other, and building a relationship."

What are your own personal ambitions as a Manchester United player?
"My ambition is to play. It's part of why I came here, I feel I can be part of a great club, a great dressing room. I'm here to push as well, I want to become a better player and I have a great opportunity to do it."

We would like to know a bit more about you personally, your football history. How would you describe yourself as a goalkeeper and what are your main strengths?
"I would describe myself as a vocal person on the pitch, trying to help the players with my organisation and obviously to be a team player. I like making saves and making a difference. But, to be fair, at this stage I just like to be stable and when teams need me, just be there for them."

Were you always a goalkeeper growing up? Did you play any other positions? And what happened to make you fall in love with this position?
"I wasn't always a goalie, I was an outfield player, I started there. But my father was a goalkeeper, all the coaches knew that so they put me straight into the goal even though I was the smallest one. When I realised he was a goalie, I wanted to be a goalie as well and since that moment I just stayed there."

Our new goalkeeper looks the part already in the new adidas kit for 2022/23.
What age were you when you realised that you could have a career in professional football?
"I would say around 15 or 16, I realised I really wanted to do this and I took it very seriously. I had a personal coach, he helped me a lot, we became very good friends as well during the years, to develop and after that I got a chance to join the first team which was a massive step in my career. I was so lucky that my family have always supported me, that's a huge part of my career and my life."

And did you watch the Premier League when you were a youngster?
"Yeah. [It's] probably the best league in the world, so of course. I was always dreaming that I would play in the best league, I'm privileged to be here now."

You've had a lot of experience now of the Premier League. What is it you like about English football?
"I would say the intensity and the atmosphere at the stadiums. Everywhere you go, it's full. The fans are amazing, supporting us everywhere we go. So I think this is the main thing."

Is there a most memorable moment of your career so far?
"I would say the move to England, that's huge for me and obviously to represent my country. I think every player dreams to play for his country so it's a massive thing for me."

And who would you say is the biggest influence in your career so far?
"My parents, I would say. They always supported me, my grandmother as well so I have to mention her. I got lucky, that I have very close friends which always show me the way; how [I should] behave, and I have to say my partner because she went everywhere I go always and supports me, so these people."
Dubravka in action for his parent club, Newcastle United.

Off the pitch, how would you describe yourself? Your character?
"I like to learn. I like to meet people, [I'm a] very active person. I try to learn other cultures, other languages. Obviously you are living abroad so you have to improve your skills and levels of your communication."

How much did your upbringing in Zilina shape your character and personality?
"I was a very young goalie at that time. I don't want to underestimate any league but obviously when you are coming into the Premier League that is a completely different level. I got a chance to play as a young goalie there and through the years had a chance to play in different leagues and different countries which probably creates me as a human being now. Every step I made, it helps me to achieve where I am now."

What do your family think of your move to Man United?
"They are very happy, obviously. They can't wait to come to Manchester to see us play."

You will become the first Slovakian to play for Manchester United when you make your debut. How much pride will that give you, your family, and everyone back at home as well?
"I am not even really understanding where I am now, I think it will come a little bit later because there's so many things which I have to process at the moment. It is a huge step for my career, for my family, for me personally, because it is one of the biggest clubs in the world and I am privileged and honoured to be here."

Martin will be ready when called upon.
Do you have a nickname?
"Yes, I have a nickname. It's 'Heco', Heco in my language means the people always support their team-mate and try to lift them up and if they need, cheer them."

And finally, what interests do you have outside football? What do you typically like to do on one of your days off?
"I have a little boy now so I'm busy. I'm a father, but I like travel, I like to meet my friends, seeing other cultures. I think I'm still young so I try to learn things."

And could your boy be a goalkeeper in the future?
"No pressure."