Vestergaard: “Striving for more“

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim's Jannik Vestergaard has made remarkable strides this season. Having played just ten minutes of Bundesliga football before this season, the 19-year-old Danish defender has emerged as a key first team player. He has featured in 22 league games in this campaign, as well as making three German cup appearances, and has been ever-present since Markus Babbel became manager at the club. Jannik, congratulations on signing a contract extension. What made you decide to extend your stay here?

Jannik Vestergaard: I really feel at home here and Hoffenheim has given me a great perspective. I'm grateful to have been given the opportunity to play in the Bundesliga.

You made your league debut last season, but this season must really have been something special for you, correct?

Most definitely. I made my debut last season, but I only played few minutes of football. This feels like my debut season to be honest.

How long does it take to get over the nerves, and for playing in Germany's top flight to become routine?

It becomes more of a routine from game to game. At the beginning I was definitely nervous, and impressed by the fans as well. But the more matches I play, the calmer I become and the more I feel like my routine is becoming more solid.

Do you ever have to pinch yourself when you look back and see how fast your career has developed?

It's true that things have moved quickly for me. One day I was playing in the regional league and the next I was suddenly training with the first team. But it doesn't astonish me. It was always my ambition to be a Bundesliga player and I work hard at it every day.

What areas of your game do you think you can sill improve?

I can and want to give more than I have done so far, and that goes for every aspect of my game. I suppose the thing I want to improve most is my tackling, where I think I could be more aggressive. I'd also like to play more of a role in constructing our attacks. That's a strength that I possess, but haven't shown as often as I would like to this season.

You are currently a Danish international at junior level, still awaiting a call-up to the senior squad. The upcoming European Championships in Poland and the Ukraine would be the perfect opportunity, correct?

(laughing) I completely agree! No, in all seriousness, it's my dream to play for Denmark and I won't stop fighting to try and get a call-up. I know that it will be extremely difficult, because the national team already has good players in my position. But if it doesn't happen this year, I can live with that. I'm still young and I'm sure my chance will come.

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