Sunday, July 27, 2014

Exclusive: EPL defender Danny Gabbidon looking at making a move to MLS


"I love the Americans attitude to team sports and how the emphasis is always on the team and not one individual. This is something you don't always see in England and appeals a lot to me."

MLS Transfers had an opportunity to speak with highly rated Welsh defender Danny Gabbidon about his past, present, and future. He just wrapped up the Enlgish Premier League season with Crystal Palace where he played 23 games for the club that finished mid-table and was heavily involved in gaining points early in the season and even added a goal against Sunderland.

MLS Transfers: Talk a little about this past season with Crystal Palace. How do you think you faired and what were the manager thoughts about your performances?

Gabbidon: As a team, it was a great achievement for Crystal Palace last season staying in the Premier League and finishing high up in the table. I like to think that some of my performances helped to achieve that, I played the majority of the games last season and was happy with the form I showed. It was frustrating for me not to play much in the last third of the season getting dropped from the team after a run of four clean sheets from six games but this is football, I suppose the new manager had his own ideas. I think what the manager would say about me was that I still continued to show a good attitude and tried and helped and encouraged the team in anyway I could.

MLS Transfers: What leadership or responsibilities did you have on the team or with the Welsh national team?

Gabbidon: Crystal Palace have a lot of young players coming through and even a lot of the senior players there don't have much Premier League experience so I think a lot of the lads respected myself and saw me as someone who they could come to for advice or learn off. I had great relationships with a lot of the young players there and enjoyed helping them develop in the two years I was there. 

MLS Transfers: Why do you have an interest in playing in America now?

Gabbison: I've had an interest in playing in MLS now for a couple of years. I've enjoyed my time playing in England but I would love to experience something different. I still feel I have a lot to offer and can make a difference even more so in a league that is trying to develop and get better. This is important to me. First and foremost, I want to play. I'm not coming for a holiday! Secondly, I actually think that this league and the people here could teach me things. I love the Americans attitude to team sports and how the emphasis is always on the team and not one individual. This is something you don't always see in England and appeals a lot to me.

MLS Tranfsers: What experiences in the past can help you play and succeed in America?

Gabbidon: Well I think when I look back at my career there's not too much that I haven't experienced, highs and lows! I think being lucky enough to have played in the Premier League for a number of years against some of the best players in the world and also playing a lot of international football would certainly hold me in good stead coming to a competitive league like MLS.

MLS Transfers: In your most recent match, you played against the Netherlands who came in third place at the World Cup and fared very well against the likes of Arjen Robben and Robin Van Persie. What do you attribute that to?

Gabbidon: I think I'd have to put that performance down to experience. I think it certainly helped that I had played against these guys before so I knew what to expect to a certain level. It was made a little bit more difficult for me because I hadn't played a full ninety minutes since March so I knew I wasn't as match sharp as I would have liked but this also told me a lot about myself and the level I feel I can still play at.

MLS Transfers: What do you know about MLS and what have past teamates or colleagues told you about the league?

Gabbidon: From speaking to people who have played out there and also managers I know that it is a very competitive league which is getting stronger each year. The league seems very professional. The stadiums look great, the training facilities are of a high standard and the numbers coming to watch the games are growing each year. I bumped into Thierry Henry a couple of years ago and was lucky enough to have a long chat with him about MLS. He gave me some good insight into the league and since then, it's certainly been in my mind as somewhere I'd like to come and play my football.

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