DZSport got an exclusive interview with Youcef Mziou, after he signed his first professional contract with Gibraltar club, Lynx FC.
Mziou was born in the south-eastern part of London and started his footballing career in the lower ranks of English football. Firstly in Watford, where he took part in their youth development programs, he then went on to play at a semi-professional level for Tooting & Mitcham United FC, who at the time was in the Ryman League. Since then he has developed as a player and was offered a professional contract with Lynx FC.
It was a big decision and step for the young Algerian, who turned 20 in July, to make such a move from where he was born in England to Gibraltar. “I thought I had a good preseason, I developed a lot” he said, followed on by “I’ve improved my fitness, I got a bit sharper.”
The Gibraltar Premier Division has been running since 1905 and it is a professional league, which recently saw last season’s winners, Lincoln Red Imps beat Celtic in the second round of qualifiers for the Champions league. “There’s a lot of good quality, good young talent and there’s a lot of good ex-professional players.” He mentioned how in his team there are players who have played for professional English clubs, such as Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley. Andre and Jordan Ayew’s older brother Rahim Ayew, who plays for Europa FC one of the most successful clubs in the Gibraltar league and has experience in an international level, so overall “It’s a competitive league.”
Mziou was clear that it is still early days in his career, but he still wouldn’t hesitate one bit in considering a move back to England. “Most definitely, I would definitely consider it” he said, it was very clear that he wouldn’t play anywhere, but there are some leagues that he wouldn’t mind playing in if the chance came by.
He did not hesitate one bit when asked about a player he looked up to from a young age, “John Terry” were the first words he spoke. “He’s a leader, he’s a captain, he just wins everything”, “He has been my favourite player since I was young.” It makes sense for the London born youngster to look up at a player such as Terry, as he plays in the same position on the pitch.
Mziou is eligible to play for three different countries, England, the country in which he was born, Algeria, his father’s country and Morocco. When asked which one he would choose? He responded, “Without a doubt I would pick Algeria, for sure.” His reasoning was because “first of all my father is Algerian and a lot of my friends are Algerian, I just feel a lot more Algerian.” He ended with saying that his “dream is to play for Algeria.” But he still wouldn’t rule out a call up for Morocco’s under 23’s side.
Overall Mziou’s target for this season is to help his side get into the European qualifiers, which means his side would need to finish in the top three. Individually he would like to improve in his performances, “Play as many games, to win as many tackles, headers and to score as many goals as I could possibly can and develop from other players as well and to be a leader from the back”.