Youth Team goalkeeper reacts to receiving Youth Team award ahead of linking up with New Zealand Under-20sNik Tzanev said it was an honour to be named the Youth Team Players’ Player of the Year after a fine season for Jon De Souza’s side.
18-year-old Nik has made 18 appearances for the table-topping Youth Team this season, keeping three clean sheets in the process.
The Bees have the best defensive record in the league and are currently on a run of ten league matches without defeat.
Nik is currently on a Youth Development contract meaning that he splits his time between the training ground and college while he is completing his A-Levels.
Speaking to Bees Player after the match Nik said that it was a real honour to be named the Players’ Player of the Year this season.
The tall goalkeeper felt that any one of a number of players could have won the award which makes it even more special.
“It is an honour to be named Players’ Player of the Year especially because, as a team, we have bonded so well this year,” said Nik.
“To be named the Player of the Year is an honour and I am over the moon about seeing my hard work pay off.
“Many of the team could have been named Player of the Year but I am really happy that it was me.
“I had no idea about it before Ose Aibangee told me.
“It was a surprise to me but obviously a pleasant surprise.
“Ose said that I really deserved it and that I had been really consistent over the course of the season.
“This year we have a really strong team, as we have shown in the league, so to be named the best player in the team is an honour.
“The fact that I am at college and that I am only in three times a week shows my potential.
“Being in every day next year will help a lot.”
Brentford’s Youth Team currently lead the Under-18 Professional Development League Two South by six points from Charlton Athletic.
The Addicks have two games in hand on The Bees and should they finish level with Jon De Souza’s side the title will be decided on goal difference.
The Bees final league match is away at Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday April 11th when they will look to extend their unbeaten run to 11 matches.
A place in the end of season play-offs is already assured where Nik and his teammates will face one of the sides from the Northern Division in the semi-finals.
Nik said the team want to finish the season as strongly as possible and that whichever team they draw in the Play-Offs will hold no fear for them.
“In the past ten fixtures we haven’t lost a game and we have won eight out of those ten,” said Nik.
“We have secured a place in the play-offs.
“Now we are focussed on winning our last game and then going into the play-offs strong and hopefully winning the title.
“We won’t fear any team from the north.
“There is a chance that they might be intimidated by how far we are in front and the recent results that we have had.
“We will treat it as another Saturday game and go into it full pace.”
Before that final game of the season Nik will be jetting to Central Asia to join his New Zealand Under-20 teammates in two friendlies in Uzbekistan ahead of this summer’s Under-20s World Cup.
These two matches are Nik’s chance to secure a spot in the All Whites squad for the World Cup which will be held on home soil starting in May.
Nik feels that his call-up has been a reward for not only his hard work but also the hard-work of the coaching and support staff at Jersey Road.
The Wellington-born goalkeeper said he can’t wait to join up with his teammates and try and earn his place in the squad for the World Cup.
“I can’t wait to join up with the international colleagues because it will be my first time there as well,” said Nik.
“Hopefully I can impress there and get in the squad for the World Cup.
“We have two matches on the 3rd and the 6th of April and we will be training day in day out there so I can show what I can do.
“Hopefully I can get a solid place in the squad.
“There are so many players available for selection for a country so I would be very happy to play a fixture for my country.
“It would be amazing to be selected for a World Cup on home soil.
“The exposure that I would get would be amazing and there could be Premier League players playing in the tournament.
“I have been doing my thing but then all the staff around me have been helping.
“Xarius Desai in the analysis department has helped me a lot sending videos through.
“That is how they have seen me; as this is my first time going they haven’t been able to see what I am like before.
“Xarius doing that has helped a lot and then Jani Viander has been in contact with the coaches and Ose Aibangee has given me the clearance to go which has all helped.”
Bees Player subscribers can listen to the full interview here