MOSCOW, April 30 (RIA Novosti)
Australian international defender Luke Wilkshire has spent almost four years with Dynamo Moscow in the Russian Premier League, as other high-profile foreign signings have come and gone. In a recent interview with RIA Novosti, he shared his thoughts on adapting to life in Russia, Andrei Arshavin’s return and claims he’s too physical.
Why do you think you’ve adapted in Moscow when other foreigners haven’t?
“I’ve got a strong personality, a strong mentality. I’m able to adapt and fit in. I’m trying to make the most of what I’ve got and try to enjoy it as much as I possibly can. A football career’s only short and you’ve got to make the most of it, so I’m trying to do that.
I’ve got some great friends, and I think maybe another big factor is that I come from such a good club in Dynamo. The club has been fantastic, friends have come. I’ve got some great friends here and, yes, I’d say it’s my second home when I’m away from Australia.
The club that I’ve come to have really helped me to adapt and to settle in. People throughout the club, not just the playing staff but the backroom staff and people you don’t see so often have all helped and made life so much easier.”
What do you make of Andrei Arshavin’s return to the Russian Premier League? Does his big-name status add more spice to games against Zenit?
“He’s a big name and a good player. It’s good for them to have him back but it’s all the same for us whether you’re playing Arshavin or anyone else. You concentrate on your own game, it’s all still the same no matter who you’re playing.”
How does Sergei Silkin’s management style affect Dynamo?
“It’s been good. You ask anyone, with how we’ve performed and the results we’ve been getting shows that he’s done a great job with the team. We’re enjoying training, we’re enjoying playing under him and things are going really well at the moment, so there’s no complaints about that.”
Former Liverpool striker’s been on the bench a lot recently at Dynamo, and there’s speculation he’s not happy about it. What do you make of that?
“It’s always difficult because we have a lot of good players at the club … I think everything is done well and there’s a great unity throughout the team.
Young defender Vladimir Rykov has broken into the first team in the last six games. What’s your view of his playing style?
“He’s been brilliant, to be honest. He got his chance to come in and he’s taken it and done really well. It’s been a big plus for us. Since we started back up this last third of the season he’s been a part of the team … He’s an old-school center-half. He’s big, he’s strong, he wins headers, he puts his body on the line. He keeps it very simple.”
You played under Guus Hiddink in the Australian national team. Have you meet him since he returned to Russia with Anzhi?
“Just before the games, twice since he’s taken over, and just a brief word at the end of the game. I ask him how things are doing and that’s it. He had the better of us on one occasion and we had the better of him, so it’s 1-1 at the moment.”
You spent three years at Bristol City. Have you been following their struggle to stay in the Championship?
“To be honest, my years at Bristol City weren’t my greatest years or my fondest memories in my football career so far, but I keep an eye out every now and then.”
Have you considered returning to play in England?
“No, that’s nothing I’ve thought about. I can’t see myself anywhere other than Dynamo at the moment. I’m very happy here. This is my club now.”
You’ve been criticized for your tough-tackling style. What sort of defender do you think you are?
“I’m not going to shy away from the physical side of the game. I do enjoy that side of the game. I like to think that’s not just what I’m about. Sometimes you can be misled a little bit and sometimes the referees can be a little bit harsh on myself, I like to think. Everyone has their opinion, that’s football.”
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