Rising star Alex Pritchard is a little short for a footballer. But the Tottenham Hotspur turned Norwich player won’t let anything stop him. Not even an ankle injury. Andrew Phillips asked some questions.
Disorder magazine was lucky enough to grab Alex Pritchard for his first-ever photo shoot - and we wanted it to be a good one! The team arrived early so we could set up the studio in Hoxton. We had several rails of clothes and accessories for him to select. Alex walked in the room all warm and friendly - if a bit tired after a flight from New York. He saw the fashion rails and said, “yes, there is something here I like - the football!” Alex has an ease and charm about him you might not expect, which the camera lapped up. He’s a good sport even off the pitch. A fashion shoot can be a bit intimidating, with a lot of strange new people fussing and tugging at you. We opted to bring out his personality rather than aim for a radical transformation, but soon learnt that nothing intimidates him. Often when dealing with sports stars there’s an army of agents and hangers-on, but Alex just brought his dad. Despite his success, Alex is going through the normal stuff of any lad: living away from home for the first time, spending too much on trainers and wondering where his career will take him.
Disorder: Hi Alex, is life perfect being a professional footballer?
Alex Pritchard: Difficult to say. It is, because it is always what I’ve wanted to do, get up in the morning and kick a ball. It’s every boy’s dream, especially in England. But it comes with its ups and downs. Travelling takes its toll, but I love it!
D: Most people’s impression of footballers is that they are loaded and buy expensive fast cars. Is that true?
AP: There’s so much more to it. Players get good money. You’ll read some stupid things in the papers, but not all of it is true. A lot of players do give back to their communities, wherever they come from, they give back to their local community, be it the club they play for, or their country of origin.
D: Let’s talk about social media, you can’t ignore it, and it’s part of life, but how do you cope with negativity?
AP: I’m not too bothered. I’ve made mistakes on social and have been told off for swearing. Instagram has taken over as my main means of social engagement, because it’s simply a visual medium.
D: Have you seen players get affected by social media, get addicted to it?
AP: I think it’s addictive to everyone. You can be on your phone all day, chasing people’s feedback to a goal they’ve scored or when they’ve been sent off.
D: You went through a bad time with your injury. How did you deal with it?
AP: I had a great season at Brentford and was called up for England. Playing in the Euro’s, second game in, I get an injury. I fell from the top of the cliff to rock bottom. What’s worse is that I thought it would be a 10-week injury, but it ended up being six months. But that’s life, and you have to deal with it! I’m now at West Bromwich, and now it’s time to go again.
D: In a short space of time, you’ve played for a lot of clubs, does each time feel like a new beginning?
AP: I do want to be settled now. I’ve done my time alone. But playing for different clubs, meeting new people and learning new things, in the long term will make me a better person.
D: What makes a good club?
AP: Unity within the club. At Spurs it’s not just about the players, everyone is important. It’s a family environment, where everyone is treated with respect, and we are all aiming to achieve success.
D: Who’s the best player you’ve played with?
AP: I grew up with Harry [Kane] through the youth team, and with Deli [Ali]… both players have kept their feet firmly on the ground especially with all the success and media surrounding them. But the best player I’ve played with, trained with is Luka Modric… He’s more than football, someone of his stature (he’s like me); he uses his strength of mind and body to overpower other players…
D: Did you get to play with Gareth Bale?
AP: I trained and played against him when I was at Swindon, a couple of weeks before he went to Real Madrid. He’s another humble guy.
D: It sounds like what you are saying is that it’s not arrogance, but respecting what you are doing, and because of that, you are rewarded…
AP: On the pitch you need to be arrogant. I know that when I’m playing, I’m totally different, no one’s my friend. I don’t care if it’s my best friend… if I need to win a tackle… sorry mate, I’m getting that ball, no matter what! Off the pitch, you have to be different, and if you take that arrogance off the pitch, that’s what the media picks up.
D: Footballers earn good money, what do you spend it on?
AP: Yes, players earn good money, but it doesn’t last forever. Depending on the position you play, your career could last until 35, maybe earlier or later… But what are you going to do at 35, big house, big cars. You need to spend your money wisely. Today, unlike the past, footballers are getting lots of help and advice in this area. You have to plan for the future because you’re not always going to be able to kick a ball around.
D: What’s your favorite music, do you go to concerts?
AP: I’m actually going to my first concert [Justin Bieber]. I mostly listen to music in my car. I like house music; I have a good collection of old songs. Most of my music is consumed via Spotify and Soundcloud.
D: Do you have a playlist you listen to before a game to get you psyched?
AP: Different clubs I’ve played for have different changing room sounds. Some are hard house music, some RnB, and others are chilled and mellow. Some players will have their headsets on listening to their own playlists to get themselves motivated before the game.
D: What tech are you into?
AP: I have a big TV with surround sound so I can watch my movies, but I don’t have a computer, no laptop. No Mac… I only have an iPad, which I use for Netflix etc…
D: Let’s wrap up on some football stuff… What’s it like running out in front of a crowd of 40,000 people?
AP: It’s amazing. It’s amazing scoring at home. It’s amazing scoring away, and that feeling when you shut the crowd up… I love it! The crowd is addictive and you’re thinking: Saturday’s coming.
D: What’s your ambition?
AP: I want to play for Spurs. I’ve been at the club since I was eight years old. But you never know in life. Yes my ambition would be to play for Spurs and England.
D: What has head coach Mauricio Pochettino brought to Spurs?
AP: Pochettino has brought mutual respect to the team and the club, no matter who you are, and training ethos, which everyone has brought into.
D: What advice would you give to someone with ideas, but struggling to get on?
AP: I’ve always wanted to be a footballer and when I got my chance I gave it everything, even though there were players probably better than me… I simply wanted it more… So my advice would be, never give up, follow your dreams because they will come true one way or another… my belief and determination would have fulfilled my potential whatever I did… so can yours.