Tyrell Malacia: His first United interview in full
Manchester United's new signing Tyrell Malacia spoke to the club's media team for an exclusive Q&A following his transfer from Feyenoord.
The dynamic left-back expressed his happiness to have signed for the Reds and revealed the discussions he's had with new manager Erik ten Hag.
Here’s the full rundown of what the 22-year-old had to say in his first interview as a United player.
Welcome to Manchester United. How does it feel to be able to call yourself a United player?
“I think I cannot describe the feeling. So much has happened in the last few weeks and I am happy to be here.”
What do you think is right for you about this move at this time in your life and this time in your career?
“I think everything. The way I spoke with the coach, and I always dreamed about playing in the Premier League, so, yeah, it’s all good.”
There are lots of links with Feyenoord and United. Of course there’s Robin van Persie, Tahith Chong who’s here. Did you speak to any of those guys before making the decision to come to Manchester?
“No, I didn’t speak to anyone about this decision. I spoke in the past with Robin and I played with him and spoke with him about his experience in Manchester. I always had contact with Tahith after he moved to England, so yeah, it was always a good feeling here.”
Did Robin have good things to say about Manchester?
“Yeah, everything was good. He says they’re the biggest club and the feeling was good, and he loved it here.”
You’re coming from a club with a great history in Feyenoord to another in Manchester United. What do you know about United?
“It is the biggest club in the world, and you can see it because of the fans, the great stadium, a lot of prizes [won]. With the new coach, he wants to build to be winning prizes again and I want to be part of that team.”
There’s obviously a great legacy of Dutch players representing United. Van der Sar, van Persie, van Nistelrooy, Jaap Stam... there are so many of them. Is that sort of legacy another reason for you to be excited about joining this club?
“Yeah, of course, because now I have something to look up to because they did great over here and I want to be part of that [list of] Dutch people who will be great.”
Growing up over the years, have you been aware of United and the Premier League? When you think of United, what comes to mind?
“The stadium, Old Trafford, it's amazing. A couple of years ago we had a Nike Cup with Feyenoord, a tournament over here, and at that time I told my dad, ‘One time I’ll be back here’ and it happened.”
You believed back then you’d play here?
What about the prospect of playing at Old Trafford then, in front of 75,000 people? What do you think about that?
“I think it will be amazing. The home games, I will love to be on the pitch and playing for the fans.”
Were there any United players that you admired over the years while you were growing up?
“Yes, Patrice Evra. I love his style. Everything is fast, energetic.”
He had an unbelievable career at United. Are you inspired by that?
“Yeah of course. I want to do even better. I know it’s going to be difficult, but I set the bar high for myself. It’s what I want.”
You’ve got Erik ten Hag, Mitchell van der Gaag, Donny van de Beek and Tahith Chong all here at Carrington, it’s becoming orange! Is that going to help you settle in?
“It makes it easier, but I met some of the players this morning already and they give me a good feeling and a welcome over here, so I feel like I’m at home already.”
Have you had many conversations with the new manager about what he’s building here at United, what he wants from you?
“Yeah, I spoke with him on the phone when everything was agreed, and it was a really positive vibe and feeling and he wants to improve everything and wants to win prizes so I’m looking forward to it.”
Must-see Malacia imagesGallery
Take a look at these awesome snaps we captured at Carrington, as Tyrell clinched his United transfer.
You’re joining United a month before the season starts in England. How important was it for you to complete this move and give you a little bit of time to settle in and get to know your team-mates before pre-season really starts?
“Yeah, I think it’s important. We go on tour on Friday so it’s important to do the pre-season with the team. I have to just come and organise everything besides football.”
You mentioned the tour, flying off on Friday. How much are you looking forward to getting that experience of what United is like around the world?
“Yeah, I’ve already heard some stories about it and Thailand is going to be big. I’ve never been there [and] I’ve never been to Australia so it’s all new for me and I’m looking forward to it.”
Some of the games on tour are against English opposition, in Liverpool, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa. Will that give you an early feel for the opposition that we are going to face in the Premier League this season?
“Yeah, they are going to be big games and I’m looking forward to playing against these teams.”
For United fans who may have not seen you play, how would you describe yourself as a footballer?
“As a footballer, I am strong in defence. I love to attack. Yeah, I have good drive and never give up.”
These days, full-backs are important attacking weapons as well. Is this an important part of your game?
“Yeah, sure. I spoke with the coach, and he gave me some things I have to work on, but he says it will come with time.”
We’ve actually heard you compared with Edgar Davids because of your tenacity. Do you model your game on that as well?
“Yeah, I spoke with him at the national team, and he said, ‘you’re not on my level yet but if you work with me and play football with me you will get there,’ so I’m curious about it.”
On the pitch you’re a really energetic, loud player, but what are you like off the pitch?
“I love music but being on my own a lot. Or with my family, but I don’t like to go out or that kind of thing. It’s not my thing.”
We saw you say once that your idol was your best friend. How important are friends and family to you? Many of them are here today on the day that you signed. What did they say to you about your move to United?
“They are really excited and happy for me, because where we came from is different compared to this. It’s a really big move and a really big step and they are really happy for me, and they are going to miss me, and I am going to miss them.”
You said, ‘where we came from.’ Tell me a bit more about that…
“We came from Rotterdam and it’s a big city in Holland. My friends and my family always had some good times.”
How important was your upbringing in Rotterdam? We see that you do work for the local community, a bit like what Marcus Rashford has done here in Manchester. Do you feel that is important, giving back to your local community?
“Yeah, if I can, it always feels good to do something for the people and I will always do that.”
We also heard that you are referred to as the ‘smiling Dutchman’ and you always seem to play with a smile on your face. Is that important to you, playing with enjoyment?
“Yeah, I think if that stops, if I don’t enjoy the game, then I don’t have to play football anymore because it’s finished.”
What about your footballing heroes growing up, who were they?
“Growing up I didn’t really have a hero. My biggest hero was my dad always for me. Not because of football but as a person. And when I was playing on the streets with my friends I was always looking up to Ronaldinho.”
You joined Feyenoord when you were very young. What was life like in the academy there in the very early years?
“For me, it was quite difficult because I came from an amateur club and going to a pro club was a big difference because of the rules and everything and you’re playing tournaments outside of the country. So, it was really difficult for me to reset myself and I think, until I was 15, I had difficult years. After that, I kept growing so I was feeling good after that. I signed my first contract when I was 15.”
You made your debut shortly after that. As a very young player, what are your memories of that experience - playing first-team football, making your debut for Feyenoord?
“[I remember] that I had a lot of ups and downs. You have to keep your cool and surround yourself with good people and talk a lot. I think that is important. It was important for me.”
I think van Persie was the captain?
“Yeah, he was.”
Obviously, he is a legend at Feyenoord. What sort of a captain was he, and what was he like as a coach?
“He knows a lot about football. He loves the game; I think he breathes the game so when you talk with him there is so much passion about football and I think that [translates] over to the players.”
Have you got a message for the United fans?
“Hi, Manchester United fans, Tyrell here. I want to say thank you and I’m looking forward to playing for you and playing for this badge on my shirt. Let’s go.”