FCA defender Kevin Danso discussed the training camp in Austria, the U21 Euros and the upcoming season.
Hi Kevin, thanks for taking the time to speak to us during the training camp in Bad Häring. How have the first three days been in Austria?
Danso: “Very good so far. We have been working very intensively to try and prepare ourselves for the new season. We have trained a lot in the first few days, which you can feel in your bones and muscles.
How are the conditions here?
Danso: “Everything is brilliant. The hotel is super, so is the food. The training pitches are right next to the hotel which is perfect. We can work really here.”
You joined up with the squad a little late because you played in the U21 Euros with Austria. How was the tournament for you?
Danso: “It was a great experience for me, even if we didn’t make it out of the group. We had the chance to get through against Germany in the final group game, but would have had to win by a high score.”
That game finished 1-1. How was the game against your teammate Marco Richter?
Danso: “It was obviously a special game for both of us – we will remember it for a long time. We swapped shirts so that we both something to remember the game by. It’s obviously a shame that we couldn’t qualify for the next round despite playing well, but I’m also pleased for Marco as he had such an excellent tournament.”
You two are now back together with Augsburg. Does Marco keep bringing up the Euros?
Danso: “Now again, but it is what it is. I can always give it back.”
One chance you will have is during the challenges that FCA Fan-TV always set you during the training camps.
Danso: “Exactly. They are always a nice distraction for us and I’m looking forward to seeing what ideas you have this time.”
You’ll just have to see in the coming days. Let’s talk about football again. There are two friendlies coming up against Galatasaray and Villarreal.
Danso: “They are two tough opponents with great players, so we are excited for these games. It’s always fun to test yourself against teams like that.”
After these games, there is one final friendly in the WWK Arena against Bologna (Saturday, 3rd August, 15:30 CEST), as well as the FCA family day. A week later, the season begins in Verl for the DFB-Pokal (Saturday, 17 August), before the Bundesliga kicks off in Dortmund on Saturday, 24 August. What are your aims for the season?
Danso: “I want to perform consistently, play as many games as possible and help the team as much I can. It would be nice if we can secure safety a little earlier next season. We will work extremely hard to achieve that.”
You have made the transition from youth player to professional at FCA, making over 40 Bundesliga appearances. Do you see yourself as a role model to the younger players?
Danso: “I wouldn’t say I’m a role model, but I’m sure my path can be great motivation to younger players at the club. As well as myself, Raphael Framberger, Marco Richter, Jozo Stanić and Simon Asta have all played in the Bundesliga for Augsburg. There are a number of other talented youngsters who train with the first team regularly and are definitely close to getting their chance.”
So you think more youngsters will get their chance in the Bundesliga next season?
Danso: “I presume so. Augsburg is a club who has tended to give their academy players a chance. If they carry on working hard, I’m sure chances will come for them.”