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Interviews

Alan Judge: Back on Track

Irishman marks his return to the international fold with BEES matchday programme interview

19 March 2018

Alan Judge's return from a double-leg fracture has been a source of inspiration in recent weeks.

Seeing the Irishman back in red and white stripes, playing with new team-mates and almost finding the net has been a huge positive at the start of 2018.

With the season coming to its conclusion, BEES caught up with the attacking midfielder to discuss his new role in the team, drawing on past Play-Off experience and finding his range once again.

 

Alan, you've had to answer a lot of questions about being away from football recently. Can you give us a quick word on how good it feels to be back?

I feel good. I've played five games in a row, not from the start, but I've come on and got minutes in me. The adrenaline is starting to wear off a little bit from coming back, which is probably a good thing because I get to see where I am fitness wise. I'm relieved - I'm back and I'm playing. I look forward to these next few months; they are crucial for me to get myself back to where I was before the injury.

 

With so many new faces arriving and old ones departing during your spell on the sidelines, has it almost been like making fresh start?

There’s been an influx of players, it's a totally different formation and a different way of playing. We still get the ball down and play but we now do a lot of pressing and counter-pressing. It's different but I'm learning every day and I'm learning to play this number eight position a bit more. I can still play on the left-hand side but I'll do my best wherever selected.

 

You're not one who likes being sat on the bench are you?

No, but I understand I'm coming back from two years out. The lads are doing well, so hopefully I can get minutes now and then get a few starts in the next couple of weeks. With players in the league tiring, I should be full of energy and can bring that to the team. I look forward to trying to get myself back in the starting XI.

 

You don't seem to be holding anything back on the field; was that always going to be your approach to making a comeback?

I think that was an important thing; people need to see that I'm the same person. I don't want people thinking 'oh, he’s got to be careful with his leg.’ I think people saw from the first game I came on, I went in for tackles straight away and I've felt like I have caught up to the pace quite quickly. I'm not expecting it to turn on like a light switch, but I wanted to show people that I have no fear because of what happened to me before.

 

When you were getting some return minutes in the B Team, twice they were awarded a penalty, and twice you grabbed the ball and took the kick. Why did that matter so much to you?

Even though it was a B Team game, it's a confidence thing. You want to hit the back of the net and enjoy that feeling again. Even if it's a Sunday League game, you just want to hit the back of the net. I got a few assists as well. It's all stuff that's related to your game that you want to get back in the habit of - scoring and making goals is part of my game.

 

You came close to scoring a First-Team goal with a free-kick that hit the crossbar against Preston North End. How good will it be to score again?

I'm looking forward to it. In all honesty, I'm a bit annoyed with myself in the last few games because I've taken some ridiculous shots. I looked at them and thought ‘what am I doing?’ I think I am just trying to get my distance right, I keep thinking I'm closer than I am and the good thing is that the gaffer lets me know that it's stupid. I have no problem with being told when I've done something wrong so I'll probably take it easy on trying to get myself a goal. It's more that I want to help create goals, and I feel like I should have had a few assists already. The main thing is I'm getting into positions and doing what I used to do. That's important to me.

 

You've spent a lot more time around your family than most footballers get to in the past couple of years, how supportive have they been throughout all of this?

Fantastic. Every time I ring my mum, she sounds like she's biting her nails with worry to see if I'm alright. My dad keeps checking on me, making sure I'm keeping myself as fit as I can. My kids at home and Emma, my wife, have just done everything for me. I would not have been able to get back to fitness without her.

 

What role has Dean Smith played in your comeback?

He's so easy to talk to. He’s asked me what I've thought of certain situations and I'll ask his opinion in return. He's been very good to me and that's all I need to say. He's looked after me when I've been injured, as has everybody here, so it's been very good.

 

How would you describe the mood of the dressing room at present?

There's no panicking and I think that shows the quality of the players we've got here. I think it shows from the way we take goal-kicks how confident everyone is on the ball. Players will take possession with the opposition right up their backside and keep hold of it. We're calm but the intensity in training is very good. This is the first time I've been at a club where every player is nearly fit. I know Rico's (Henry) out, but we literally have 22 players out there training to try and get into the starting XI. Never mind starting, trying to get a place on the bench is hard enough.

 

 

60 Seconds with Judgey…

 

 

Favourite Brentford memory?

Promotion. It was a big day for the club. I didn’t realise that until a few days after when I sobered up!

 

Footballing idol?

My dad used to play for Fulham when he was younger, so him. I also loved watching Paul Scholes.

 

Favourite sport aside from football?

I like a bit of MMA and Boxing

 

Do you have a life motto?

Not really. When I was injured it was ‘go home, go to sleep, wake up, go again.’

 

Your latest TV or film craze?

I’ve just started watching Peaky Blinders as everybody kept telling me about it.

 

Favourite holiday destination?

Dubai - I love it there.

 

A team you’d love to play for from any era?

Manchester United when they won the treble.

 

What annoys you the most?

When people don’t say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’

 

Describe yourself in two words?

Angry man

 

Ultimate five-a-side team of players you’ve lined up alongside?

Daniel Bentley; James Tarkowski; Tugay, Jonathan Douglas; Alex Pritchard

 

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