With preseason officially starting today and fans extremely excited for the new season, I got the opportunity to speak to flying winger Jordan Botaka about his first season and the next.
Botaka had a mixed season in which he was in and out of the match day squad. One thing that he is hoping to change this season. The talented winger definitely has the skill and drive to be a real star at Leeds United and here's hoping that he gets his opportunities this season.
Below is the interview; Enjoy!
After your first full season in England, how do you think it went?
After a decent start against Middlesbrough, Birmingham and Brighton I was a bit unlucky that Mr Rösler got replaced. Mr Rösler really invested time in me and the team to play offensive football.
After the change of manager we started to play other systems and adapting to opponents more than play from our own qualities. Because of that we sometimes played without wingers or only one. So many times I was left out of the squad due to that although I gave everything at training.
Luckily the supporters and my team mates supported me in that difficult period. That motivated me to keep going and I got to finish the season strong and be important for the team a.o. against Hull away.
Was it nice to receive such support after your appearance at home vs Wolves?
That gave me a big motivation. During the season the fans always cheered and sang for me, even when I wasn't in the squad. That's really incredible. Unfortunately my first touch landed on the cross-bar and I couldn't reward the fans for their believe in me instantly. I was very content with that win because it was the closure of a difficult period.
What have you been doing during the off season?
I have played two matches with the national team of Congo. One against Romania and the other against Madagascar. In the latter I scored one goal. So besides a short trip to the US with some team mates and a wedding of Yanick Bolasie (Crystal Palace) in Spain I really didn't have a lot of free time. But that's ok for me because I can't wait to start pre-season after last season which I consider as a lost season in my career because I didn't get much chances.
There's a lot of speculation as to where your best position is, but what is your preferred position?
Right or left wing in a 4-3-3 system is my favorite position.
What can Leeds fans expect from you in your second season in England?
Goals and assists! It's as simple as that!
Are you hoping to hit the ground running in preseason?
After the whistle at Preston I was already thinking about this upcoming season. Because I played quit well with the national team I hope that I keep in this flow off the last couple of months.
Are you excited to work with new head coach Garry Monk?
All the people I talk to about the manager are very enthustatic, especially because he is known for his offensive kind of play. Besides that he had a big career himself so I think I can learn a lot of him.
Is there anything specific that you will be focusing on in preseason training?
I am known now with everything and everybody around the club and starting pre-season as off day 1. That's the big difference with last season when I signed at deadline day and the same day I had to travel to Africa for a match for with the national team.
Because of that I lost almost a month before I could make my debut. So there's nothing special this season in comparison with last season beside that I want to convince Mr Monk from the start that I can contribute to a winning team.
Where do you predict the club will finish next season?
With Newcastle in the Championship it's going to be a tough season.
The group is eager to get into the play-offs for promotion. I think we can be a dark horse for promotion.
We'd like to thank Jordan for taking the time to answer our questions ahead of an extremely important preseason for the winger.
In my opinion, there's no doubt that he should be given his opportunity this season. He's incredible talenteded and driven and could be one of our standout players this year.
We wish you all the best and hope that you star this season for the Whites!
By Ryan Ingham