‘Gnabry looks incredible technically’, says Olympiacos youngster
Freddie Barker is a talented English-born frontman who was plucked from relative obscurity by Greek champions Olympiacos in January.
Regarded as one of Olympiacos’ most promising young players, the 19-year-old has already played against the likes of Shakhtar Donetsk on youth level
Barker caught up with Gooner Talk to discuss Olympiacos’ recent NextGen games with Arsenal, his hopes for the future and much, much more.
Tell me about your background as a footballer. When did you start playing and at what age?
I was actually a very late bloomer. I didn’t start playing until I was 11 but each year I just improved more and more. I only ever really played for local teams in my county in the Ryman League and also Sussex County League. But most of my football success came from school football (Dorothy Stringer) and county and district (Sussex and Brighton and Hove).
How did you get scouted by Greek side Olympiacos?
I go on holiday to Greece every year and a family friend who lives here was a agent and had a link with the club and he saw me play a couple times while in Greece during matches with a local team in Rhodes.
As a professional footballer, even at youth level, do you feel under pressure all the time?
Yes, you do always feel a sense of pressure. I always look at professionals and think they shouldn’t be making such simple mistakes but everyone is human – even the likes of
Ronaldo have a bad game, so seeing that relieves the stress of making small mistakes and just working on them instead.
Your Olympiacos squad recently played Arsenal in the NextGen tournament. Who was the most talented/impressive Arsenal player in your view during both games and why?
That player for me has to be Serge Gnabry. His technical and physical maturity at such a young age is incredible. He’s definitely one to watch for the future.
What are your hopes for your career? Where do you see yourself in three years time?
I hope to be playing at the highest standard as possible whether it’s in Greece, England or America. I want to be established by the age of 21 where ever I am.
Who is the best player you’ve played with/against?
Strangely enough the best player I have played with is a very good friend of mine. We played in central midfield together in our school team and proved quite the partnership. His name is George Hayward and he’s been very unlucky with injury.
In terms of the best player I’ve played against, I recently played against Shakhtar Donetsk and their number 10 completely bossed the game. We lost in the final 2-1.
Out of the current Olympiacos squad, who do you most look up to/admire?
It has to be Roy Carroll. We both signed on the same day and we always speak. I think it’s because we are the only two Brits here and so we have to stick together! His professionalism is outstanding and after his performances last season I’m sure he still has a good time to go before he retires.
Thanks to Freddie for the interview. You can follow him on Twitter @FreddieBarker19