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MessagePosté le: Mer 23 Mai - 10:48 (2018)    Sujet du message: Nick Blackman feeling the benefits of a season under Jordi C Répondre en citant

Nick Blackman feeling the benefits of a season under Jordi Cruyff at Maccabi Tel Aviv

sbobet asia Derby County striker Nick Blackman tells Sky Sports' Nick Wright how a season on loan at Jordi Cruyff’s Maccabi Tel Aviv has broadened his horizons and improved him as a player and a person. One day last summer, when Nick Blackman was weighing up his future following an injury-hit season with Derby County, his phone pinged with a message from Jordi Cruyff. The Dutchman was a long-standing admirer who had first floated the idea of a move to Maccabi Tel Aviv a few years earlier, but this was the first time it felt like a genuine possibility.

Cruyff, who had just taken over as the Israeli club's manager after five years as their sporting director, asked Blackman whether he would be interested in a season-long loan move, and the striker, a youth-teamer at Manchester United when Cruyff was a member of their senior squad two decades ago, decided to fly out and see for himself. "We had been in contact here and there for three or four years and nothing had come of it before, but we continued the dialogue and everything just seemed to fit for me in the summer," Blackman tells Sky Sports. "I came out and met with him and saw the facilities and the stadium. Everything was perfect. It just felt right."

Blackman had moved around a lot during his career, representing Blackburn, Motherwell, Sheffield United and Reading, among others, but the 28-year-old had never played abroad. The promise of regular playing time for the biggest and most successful club in Israel, coming from the son of a footballing great like Cruyff, was too good to turn down. "I was looking at going out and playing as many games as possible this season, so it became a no-brainer for me to go and play under someone of Jordi's stature," says Blackman. "The manager's background needs no introduction, so I knew what the style of football would be like. There was also the opportunity to play in the Europa League, which was fantastic. sbobet asia

"Without doubt it's the biggest club in Israel, so it's been fantastic to play in such a pressured environment. It's been a big learning curve for me in how to deal with that pressure but it's something I've embraced and I've really enjoyed." Blackman's Jewish heritage was another reason why the move made sense. His maternal grandfather was an Auschwitz survivor and his grandmother converted to the religion when she was adopted by a Jewish family after the war. The pair found their way to Manchester, where Blackman was later born to a Jewish mother and a Christian father from Barbados. "I wouldn't say being Jewish was a factor in the decision to come out here but it was always going to be a connection," he says. "I played in the Maccabiah Games [a sporting tournament held in Israel] when I was 15. I don't remember too much of it but there was obviously a connection there. It has made things even smoother, if that was possible." sbobet asia


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MessagePosté le: Mer 23 Mai - 10:48 (2018)    Sujet du message: Publicité

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