Mavididi on finding happiness at Leicester, time at Juve & PL dream

19 January 2024 0 By Total Football News

“As I said many times to Stephy and to everyone, for me, he is a fantastic player. He just needs consistency and he can be an important player this year and an important player in the future for us.”

The wise words of Enzo Maresca, speaking as he and his winger Stephy Mavididi picked up the December awards for Sky Bet Manager and Player of the Month.

The Leicester boss was speaking to me, and to Stephy himself, who was waiting to one side of the room to collect his own prize.

The 25-year-old is thriving on the left side of a Foxes team well clear at the top of the Championship – with nine goals and four assists to his name in 27 appearances.

“I’m really enjoying it,” he tells Sky Sports. “And that’s the feeling I get from everyone else as well.

“That’s the most important thing for me in football is to enjoy it.

“And obviously you enjoy it when you win at the same time. It’s what the gaffer always says to us, enjoy playing.”

Mavididi began his career at Arsenal, but never made a senior appearance for the club before going on to Juventus, then Dijon and Montpellier.

His desire to further his career took its personal toll – and he admits there were mental struggles in Italy and France – but after some turbulent years, it feels as though he has found himself back home in England.

“I’ve always had it in my mind I wanted to return home, play in my country in front of friends, family,” he says.

“I said many times before, I was really grateful that I had the opportunity to come here.

“Now it’s just up to me. I’ve just got to keep working hard, performing and doing my best for this club.

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“I’m quite happy here, and I’ve settled in really well. I’ve got good team-mates, good staff and a good manager.

“We’ve got targets this season and we just want to keep working hard to reach these targets. We knew we had a strong team before the season started.

“We just knew everyone had to be on the same page and work hard. We’ve all gelled together and it’s obviously showing because we’re getting the results.

“I’m grateful to be here but it’s still a long journey and we just got to keep working hard.”

Mavididi only made one senior appearance during his time with Juventus, but trained a lot with a first team that was spearheaded by Cristiano Ronaldo and littered with other stars.

“It was not a bad group!” Mavididi jokes. “There were so many world-class players in the changing room and it was such a good experience for me.

“Obviously there was Cristiano. But there were also players like Douglas Costa, Joao Cancelo, Medhi Benatia and Miralem Pjanic.

“I could be here all day listing names. But they weren’t just world-class players, they were workers as well.

“I was just trying to take as much as I could from them and add it into my game. It helped me grow.”

Mavididi has the proud record of making more appearances in Ligue 1 than any other English player, but he dreams of one day getting his chance in the Premier League.

“We just need to keep taking it game by game, sticking to our plan and performing,” he says. “It is a long season and we are still just about halfway through. We still need results to get there.

“Obviously being an English player, growing up it was my dream to play in the Premier League. It’s the best league in the world.

“Hopefully I can help pull that off.”

With Leicester well clear at the top, that dream could one day become reality.

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