Nabil Bentaleb interview

Nabil Bentaleb in an interview with Adidas discussed how Algeria intended to not play the meek football they did in South Africa.

Nabil Bentaleb interview



Q - Algeria crashed out of the last World Cup group without a point, playing some nice possession football but getting little penetration. Is it important to change that image?

Nabil Bentaleb - "Absolutely. Everyone watched that World Cup and wished that Algeria could have scored more, although they worked very hard and did keep the ball well. That is part of my game, keeping the ball, but you need more than just that. We want to show that now we are not this boring, defensive side. We can go at people. The world should be ready for this."

Q - Your Bosnian manager Vahid Halilhodzic has got you playing a new formation, too, how does that feel?

Nabil Bentaleb - "Yes. He is a very smart man and he has worked out that a well-balanced 4-3-3 works very well for Algeria. I like that a lot and I feel comfortable as part of it. We press for the ball when we don’t have it, and we recover it better than we ever did.

"Our fullbacks can attack, and everyone likes to join in and create chances. And we’ve got forwards like El Arbi Hillel Soudani and Islam Slimani who get on the end of crossed balls very well. The whole side is happy with the system, and when you get that, you get a strong team."

Q - Slimani, Soudani, and Sofiane Feghouli are very pleasing to watch up front. It must be good, as a midfielder to have them ahead of you?

Nabil Bentaleb - "We are lucky as midfielder to be able to feed these three. A lot of things go through Feghouli, and Soudani makes great late runs. Slimani is just a goal machine, though. He has that real eye for it, he hunts down goals."

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Q - You played a game for the France U19 side, was it a tough decision to represent Algeria?

Nabil Bentaleb - "I was born in France, I grew up in France and I played my football in France, so I feel a strong bond to the country. But I always wanted to pledge myself to Algeria. I am proud to play for them.

"I am happy to see France succeed though. I know so many of the players and they have a great squad now. They could make France a great football country again. But my focus is on Algeria."

Q - You’re just 19 – is it daunting to head out to a World Cup, especially a World Cup in Brazil?

Nabil Bentaleb - "I wouldn’t say it is daunting, you need to be up for these challenges as a professional player. But yes, it is exciting, nerve wracking – something you really look forward to, in a positive way.

"I’ve been lucky to play in the Premier League in front of the most passionate crowds around, but the World Cup is another step up – it is the biggest. And the fact it is in Brazil is extra special, they are a country legendary for football."

Q - Your captain, Madjid Bougherra, will certainly be important to settle the side in big games.

Nabil Bentaleb - "'Magic' is fantastic. He is a great leader and a great defender, and it is no wonder he has gathered so many caps for Algeria. We all look up to him and he is a very nice guy.

"He always has a word of help or advice for any young players, or new additions to the squad like me, so we will be looking for his guidance in Brazil.

Algeria have certainly been true to their word. Like Gary Lineker I thought Algeria were underrated and fully expected and expect them to get out of the group. BBC anchorman and former Tottenham striker Lineker felt they would go furthest of all the African sides at the tournament.




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