Emil Bohinen: It is hard to score more beautiful goals than my father. But I will try!
We introduce our newcomer to the Army Men fans — Norwegian midfielder Emil Bohinen, who signed a contract with PFC CSKA on Monday and immediately after that gave a detailed exclusive interview to pfc-cska.com.
«PFC CSKA PROFESSIONAL APPROACH IS KNOWN FAR BEYOND THE BORDERS OF RUSSIA»
— Congratulations on your move to PFC CSKA, Emil! How do you feel now?
— I am very happy to join the team, my dream has come true! I was flattered by the interest of such a big club and did not doubt for a second that I was making the right step in my career. Finally, all formalities are over, and I can fully concentrate on my work!
— What do you know about the club, about Russian football?
— You have a very strong league, maybe even one of the best in the world. The style of playing in Russia is strong, I like this challenge, I will try to show myself. We discussed this option with my father and with my agent, as well as with many people who have had experience of playing in your country or simply know the championship well. The general opinion was that this is a good league to continue my career, and I have a lot of pleasant surprises waiting for me.
PFC CSKA has a very professional approach to work, it is known far beyond the borders of Russia. I was immediately told who was the first in Russia to win the European trophy — the UEFA Cup in 2005. Moscow is a wonderful city. The more I heard the reviews and studied the background, the more I became convinced that I am doing everything right.
— How was the transfer going?
— The active stage of negotiations took about a week and a half, then I began to undergo medical examinations, and after that I signed a contract. Coronavirus' restrictions made the process a little longer, but generally everything went smoothly. So, I arrived in Campoamor and now I finally exhaled (smiles).
— There were stories in the press about the interest in you from British clubs - Brighton, Sheffield United. Was there a substantive discussion of the contract with them?
— I personally did not communicate with any other club except for PFC CSKA during this transfer window. The interest in me was really great last season, but coronavirus complicated the negotiations. In any case, when the offer from PFC CSKA appeared, everything else relegated into the background. The club said exactly the things I wanted to hear. We discussed the level of the league and the team, and I understood how professional players and coaches in the team are. It completely suited me.
— What are your ambitions regarding playing for PFC CSKA?
— First of all, I have to stay calm, because I am entering a completely new environment for myself. The country, the city, the team, the championship, the culture — everything will be different. My job is to work hard. I want to benefit the team, every day achieve the right to come out onto the field and get a decent amount of playing time.
Secondly, as a PFC CSKA player, I would like to participate in the fight for the title and enter the group stage of the next Champions League this year, then perform well in Europe. It was explained to me that my new club always sets high goals for itself, and I like it.
I want to win new titles with Red-Blues in the future. I went on the official website and saw how many cups Army Men had collected over the previous decades.
I KNEW ABOUT AKINFEEV FOR A LONG TIME — FROM THE FIFA SIMULATOR
— What names of PFC CSKA players did you know before coming to Campoamor?
— Akinfeev and Fernandes were great at the World Cup in Russia, but I had known Igor before that — from the FIFA football simulator (smiles). Also, I knew Icelanders, I talked to them before the transfer. Nikola Vlasic, of course, is also well-known. In addition, I have studied the names of young Russian players, they are talented guys!
— Chidi Ejuke?
— Sure, because he played in our championship. Chidi was the best in Norway in those years, I am not kidding! He is an amazing player, scored amazing goals. And then he looked very good in Holland.
— Did you play against each other in Norway?
— Yes, a couple of times, but I was just starting to play at an adult level, and he soon left.
— Did you know that you are the first Norwegian in the PFC CSKA history?
— No. I am honored (smiles).
— If we talk about our league, there was Erik Hagen from Zenit…
— I have not heard about him.
— ... Mathias Normann, Vadim Demidov, Stefan Strandberg and a few more guys.
— I know these three guys well, and Demidov also played with me in Stabaek for a couple of years. I also asked Vadim about the option with PFC CSKA.
— What did he say?
— «Go and do not think. It is a great club and a great country».
— Now let's talk about your strengths and weaknesses. Central midfielder, you know how to tackle, give assists — we know that. And if we dig a little deeper?
— I like to possess the ball, deliver it to attacking players, manage the game in midfield. I am tall and I can play power football, but I need to adapt to the league. In addition, it is very important to understand the pace of the matches in Russia. Then I will draw the necessary conclusions for myself.
— What about the ability to steal balls? An important quality for a defensive midfielder...
— This was my problem in Norway at first, but at some point, I realized that I had to improve this component. I think I managed to improve my defensive skills, I started to win more balls and since then I have played in Stabaek starting line-up, I have already played many matches for the team at my age. I know that I have abilities for this style, I want to develop in this direction further.
— You sometimes played even as an attacking midfielder in Norway, right?
— Yes, I can play as an attacking midfielder, and "box-to-box", and come out on the right wing. We discussed my role in the team with the head coach Viktor Hancharenka, he knows all this, as well as that it is more comfortable for me to play in the center of midfield. If I play as a defensive midfielder, I also expect to help the team in attack with my assists and goals.
«BEST GOAL EVER AT OLD TRAFFORD»
— Many people in Russia love English football and remember how your father Lars Bohinen played for Nottingham Forest, Blackburn and Derby. It is because of him you became a football player, isn't it?
— Perhaps (smiles). He always told me that I should choose myself what I want to do in life. He did not push me to become a football player. But naturally I became interested in this game, all my friends, older brothers and cousins also loved it. I was the youngest, I learned everything from them, which is probably why I could become a professional. My father was always there to help me, and his knowledge of the game helped me to develop. What to do, what, on the contrary, you cannot do, how to communicate, how to prepare yourself for matches — he told me all this.
— At what age did you start playing football?
— When I was about five or six years old. I realized at the age of ten that I wanted more, and I started to train harder. I signed my first contract with Stabaek when I was sixteen. So, despite my age, I have been in professional football for quite a long time, and I started playing for the first team early at my club.
— Your father moved from one city to another when you were born…
— Yes, I was born in England, in Derby. Then we went to Denmark, where he played for several years. And after that, we returned to our homeland, and I lived only in Oslo, where I played for local teams.
— What moment of his career does your father remember most often? Once he scored against England in a qualifying tournament, and the Norwegians actually left them without the World Cup in 1994.
— Yes, we discussed that goal many times. As well as the famous goal against Italians in the qualifying tournament for Euro 1992. To be honest, my dad constantly shows me these goals, sends them in a messenger. He says, «Just look at this! » (laughs). He also scored a lot in the Premier League, which is also a constant topic of our conversations. Of course, I am proud of my father.
— One of these balls was in the game against Tottenham.
— Oh, yes. And the other one, no less beautiful, is a goal against Manchester United. Someone posted it on Youtube and called the video «The best goal ever at Old Trafford» (smiles). Maybe it is not exactly true, but just look what he did!
— Wow! And which goal in your career do you think is the best, Emil?
— I had some good goals. I am sure that it is still ahead. It will be difficult to beat my father, but I want to score this goal in a PFC CSKA shirt!
— Emil, I talked to your compatriot Ole Gunnar Solskjaer three years ago, in February 2018, at the same table in the lobby of the Golf Campoamor Hotel. He told us a lot of interesting things in an interview with CSKA TV — and, in particular, recommended that our scouts pay attention to the unknown Molde striker Erling Haaland. Since then, you know, there has been some reason to believe the Norwegian prophets. Now it is your turn. Name one young Norwegian football player who will definitely play at highest level in the near future — and then, a couple of years later, people will quote this interview, as they quoted that one.
— (Laughs) But Ole really knew what he was saying. It will not be easy for me to give the same exact prediction. But I will try. I played with a guy named Kai Kostadinov in Stabaek. A great football player! He is still very young, but he can become a star. So, I strongly recommend you take a closer look at him.