It’s been a tough first year in England for Austrian striker Philipp Prosenik. After a useful pre-season and first few weeks of the campaign proper, and a handful of goals to his name, injuries have made things tough for the former Rapid Vienna striker. But, in an interview with Nachrichten, he revealed that rehabilitation is going well, and offered an insight into his first six months here.
The interview was conducted in Prosenik’s native tongue as per the link provided, but it is translated below.
He is young, talented and one of Austria’s greatest hopes. Striker Philipp Prosenik, 16, has given sportnet.at insight into his new world at Chelsea.
Soon, he will return from injury. Half an hour of aqua jogging, a 60 minute session on the ergometer, and finally three quarters of an hour in the oxygen chamber.
Since this is the second surgery he has had on his meniscus, this routine is bread and butter stuff for Prosenik. It happened during a training session with the first team, and it was no less a culprit than Michael Essien.
“He immediately apologised” says Philip.
TOUGH ACTS TO FOLLOW
The ‘English toughess’ is not an empty phrase, and the 6’3″ striker has found this out first half. A concussion resulting in memory loss and various ankle injuries picked up in recent months can be placed alongside the meniscus problem so far this season.
“Still, I feel I have generally played qyite well” says Philipp after half a year living in Cobham. “The coaches are very satisfied with me.”
Although his progress has been frequently disrupted by injury, Philipp has settled “very well, although the fast pace was tough to adapt to at first”. One goal, a header, from seven appearances last autumn, are his achievements so far.
The biggest competition he faces in attack comes in the form of 17 year-old Marko Mitrovic. “He’s been at the club a year longer than me, but we are pretty similar in terms of ability.”
PREPARING FOR MEDIA ATTENTION
In the vast, almost military-like training ground, Chelsea’s youngsters want for nothing.
“Each one of our games will be recorded and can be seen via Chelsea TV. Moreover, the good and bad moments for all players are then shown to us on five or six screens, and we analyse them.”
ALONE IN A NEW COUNTRY
In his private life, the left-footed forward has grown accustomed to his new habitat, although it was not easy at the beginning.
“The first two weeks were bad. It’s funny, suddenly you realise you’re all alone. Although, I have to say it is a little nice to not have parents telling you to do this or that” says the Fernando Torres admirer, “Being alone means I can focus totally on my goals.”
THE BRITISH HUMOUR
After some help, especially from his guest family, Prosenik is now fluent in England. “They really do anything for me. I’m pretty nice to them, as are they in return to me.”
The host mother works in a bank, while the father had once worked in the financial industry, but now earns his money as an author. “Both have that dry, British humor. Especially with the father, he is a very distinctive character. On the other hand, I am not familiar with (the humour) at all.”
The humour is not, however, the only difference from Austria. “In the UK, they are incredibly friendly. Everyone is respected. The reputation of the cleaners here, for example, is the same as that of the coach.”
THE SENIOR PLAYERS
Typically, two of the first team members have stood out to the Austrian Under-17 international; Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka.
“They have something I have not seen before. They really do put every ball in the back of the net,” says Philipp. “And if you want their advice, they take their time to explain it to you patiently.”
It’s still two months until ‘Prose’ can return to action. Until then, it’s a case of hard work and patience. “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out”. His motto is ‘not for nothing’.
WORK AFTER WORK
Yet it’s not only sports which provide challenges day by day. There’s also school. In June, exams will be taken.
“Right now I get daily homework assignments and course material sent via the Internet,” said the schoolboy. “I have always promptly returned everything.”
“I’M MORE CONFIDENT NOW”
It was one of Prosenik’s goals to take a step forward as a person in moving abroad.
“You change, even if it’s only a little bit. I think I’ve become more confident. Even my mother noticed that when I went back home for the holidays.”
If there is any more time left in the day, Philipp likes to play PlayStation or head to the shops. “London is a beautiful city, it’s really alive. I’ve not really experienced anything about the nightlife yet, I usually have to be home no later than 10.30pm.”
But that was not all that important anyway, because, as Philipp said, even before his move to Chelsea, “I live for football.”
In many ways, Philipp’s first season here has mirrored that of Marko Mitrovic. A tall, powerful and clinical striker putting balls into the back of the net in pre-season, before injuries then curtailed progress. Mitrovic suffered ankle, knee, groin and back issues, and was in and out of the team for the first twelve months of his Blues career. This season, with his family in England and fitness no longer an issue, he is thriving, leading the club’s academy goalscoring charts and registering highly amongst all Academy League players in the goals column. Philipp will have to be patient, but he can definitely take heart from that story and, with all being well, return to the team before the end of the season, get a bit of playing time under his belt and come back fresh after a summer break ready to get things going for real this time. He’s an exciting prospect, we’ll just have to wait a bit longer to see what he’s all about.