Robin Gosens admitted he struggled when he arrived at Atalanta and had to work hard to earn their respect. ‘I knew I had the quality to play in Serie A’.
The German wing-back revealed he had to work hard to become a footballer, revealing his teammates ‘laughed at my poor technique’.
“Now, I’m a professional footballer, but at first I struggled to fit in,” Gosens told Gameplan. “I didn’t have the sense of belonging.
“During training, my teammates laughed at my poor technique and lack of coordination. Of course, off the pitch I was well integrated, but on the pitch I always had the feeling that others thought I was much worse than them.
“I had never been to a youth academy and I lacked the basics to play football correctly. It might sound like a cliché, but if you asked my teammates who is always the first to arrive and last to leave, most of them would say ‘Robin Gosens’.
“I knew that I could only address my deficits if I worked harder. Every day I asked one of the coaches if I could add more technical, fitness or coordination exercises at the end of the session. Only in this way, was I able to develop further and earn the respect of my teammates.”
Gosens has established himself as a vital member of the Orobici squad, but admitted he initially struggled in Bergamo.
“My first year in Bergamo was full of disappointments and insecurity,” he continued. “I had arrived in a new country and I didn’t speak the language. There was no one to help me.
“I was not important for the team and the coach didn’t have faith in me and, at times, made it clear that my skills weren’t worthy of a place at Atalanta.
“I don’t remember how many times I sat in my room at night wondering if I’d ruined my entire career with this move.
“I didn’t play. I was invisible for the team and, outside of football, I didn’t have a family that distracted me. It stayed that way for most of the season. I was hurt by what the coach told me, but I knew I had the quality to play in Serie A.
“I tried to do what the coach asked me to do, I kept doing extra training sessions, I learned from my rivals and I have slowly but surely adapted to the required level.
“I knew the hard work would pay off someday. I started to have more playing time, I felt better with the team and I became more and more important to them, month after month, season after season.
“Now, after four years here in Bergamo, I have become an important player of the team. I played in the Champions League and joined the German national team.”