Varsity: The one to watch – Derek Quaye

**Derek Quaye, how does it feel to be one of Boar Sport’s ‘Ones to Watch’ for Varsity?**

It’s quite an honour, we have a lot of talented players in the squad, definitely the strongest we’ve had since I’ve been here, so to be highlighted as the one to watch is something to be proud of. In all honesty there are a number of players worth looking out for, the likes of Joe Bloomfield, Simon Olsson and Andrew Amato have all had good seasons and have the ability to be match winners, even in a game of this calibre.

**Tell us a bit about your background in football; apparently you’ve had some experience in the academy system?**

I’ve played football since I was about five, played for Brentford until U11 level, but then stopped due to injuries. Then I took up tennis, and was pretty close to giving up football completely as I didn’t have time for both and I was probably better at tennis at the time. Eventually I chose to continue playing football and joined Reading at 16 and got selected to play for England schoolboys. At the end of sixth form, I decided to try and play professionally and took a gap year. At the end of my gap year a deal to play for QPR fell through and so I decided to come to Warwick.

**Which pro player do you admire the most, and who do you model your game on?**

Most people who know me know that I have a great admiration for Paul Scholes. In my opinion he is the best midfielder to have ever played in the Premiership. His conduct and professionalism as well as his technical ability mean that he’s a great role model for any young players coming through. I also have a lot appreciation for Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta. These players aren’t blessed with the natural attributes of the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo or Didier Drogba but have still managed to get to the top of world football, which is why I have such great admiration for them.

**Tell us about the Warwick side? Who has the worst dress sense, is the best trainer, the biggest moaner, is the least intelligent and is the longest in the shower?**

Benji Thompson and Rob Gasper comfortably have the worst dress sense in the club. Benji’s circle song is aptly “Teenage Dirtbag”, and Gasper comes out dressed like he has lost a bet all time. The best trainers at the club are Dave “Ginge” Holmes and Tom Whittle. No matter what the drill or the session their attitude is fantastic. I’m the type of player who struggles for motivation if I can’t see the point in the drill, but they never seem to give less than 100%. Mikey Stewardson, when he was here, loved to have a moan about anything and everything. I’m not sure about least intelligent, but Seyra Dagadu always seems lost and never seems to get a training drill right. As for the longest in shower, I’ll say Leo Harris… he likes to clean his boots in there.

**What is your greatest memory of football?**

My greatest football memory, as a player, is probably touring Italy with the England youth side. It was an incredible experience being treated like a professional, especially being only 16 at the time. As a fan, it’s probably Manchester United winning the Champions League on penalties in 2008. I was too young to really appreciate it when they won it in ‘99.

**You’ve have been cited by many as bearing a striking resemblance to Andy Cole. Is he a player you look up to and emulate? What do you think of his rapping ability?**

I went to a secondary school where me and my friend were the only two black people in our year, and we both played up front for the school team around the time Yorke and Cole were terrorising Premiership defences, so we christened ourselves Yorke and Cole and funnily enough I was Andy Cole. We even once went to a fancy dress party as those two. He is actually one of my favourite players ever, but his song is categorically one of the worst I’ve heard.

**How has your season gone so far?**

I’ve enjoyed this season more than previous ones because this year we are chasing a league title. I’ve played a variety of positions this year but I’ve settled on the right hand side of midfield. Of course being central midfield player, ideally I would like to play down the middle, but if the coach requires me to play somewhere I’m happy to do it.

**What has the impact been of your new coach?**

James Ellis has revamped the club right the way through, changing everything from the club’s culture to training schedules and playing style. He has worked to improve the quality of the players and the image of the club off the field. From a personal point of view I think he’s one of the best coaches I’ve played for. He pays attention to details as small as throw-ins, which is something I’ve never seen from a coach.

**There are rumours that you’re going to ‘bust out’ a Fifa 11 celebration if you score a goal. Can you confirm or deny these rumours?**

I have had requests from friends to do the Asamoah Gyan dance or the “dougie” or my freestyle from the CMD’s Sports Relief dance off as well as a FIFA 11 celebration. I’m not entirely sure which celebration I’m going to do, but I’m sure it won’t disappoint. Of course I have to score first.

**Tell us about the rivalry with Coventry (what does Varsity mean for you guys); what do you expect from the game?**

The rivalry with Coventry is so intense that it makes Varsity is the biggest game of the season. Coventry students have a hatred for Warwick that they like to fuel before the game with pep rallies and motivational videos so when the game actually arrives, the players and their supporters tend to be very fired up. This has made for heated games in the past where the tempo has been pretty frantic; I expect this year to be no different.

**You’ll be playing at the Butts arena; what’s the mood in your camp, will it phase you?**

I think we’ll cope fine ultimately; the occasion rather than the actual arena will be the main obstacle. Varsity games tend to be played in a carnival atmosphere so it can be easy to get distracted by what’s going on around, but a lot of the players have played in at least one Varsity game before, which will help. The feeling throughout the club is generally of excitement. This year is the first year we are playing in the Varsity Finale and it gives the club the chance to showcase ourselves as a genuine long term alternative to the rugby.

**How was the fixture against Coventry last year?**

The game last year was comfortably the best performance of the season. We outplayed them throughout the game and deserved to win 4-1. The celebration scenes after the game are amongst my best memories at Warwick, even despite being punched by one of the Coventry supporters who ran on to the field after the game!

**Does Coventry have any danger men?**

I’m not focusing on any of their players to be honest. Everyone has to be prepared to win their own personal battle on the pitch and if we do that we’ll win the game.

**Finally, give us your prediction for the game?**

I predict Dave Holmes will snap someone, Joe Bloomfield will miss a one on one, Simon Olsson will persistently foul players running back towards their own goal line, I will at some point do a step over and Seyra Dagadu will turn up to the meet wearing the wrong attire. Genuinely speaking however, I think it will be an entertaining game with both sides desperate to win, but I predict a Warwick victory. We’re set up to be strong at the back and not to concede goals so hopefully if we are ruthless in front of goal like we were last year, then we should run out winners.

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