“My family love football. My grandfather, my father, my mother, and sister too.” For Tristan Crama family and football go hand in hand. Had it not been for the influence of his family there is a strong possibility that the 20-year-old defender would not have made the journey from the south of France to West London to continue his progression in the game in England.
Schooled at AS Béziers from a young age, Tristan was able to work his way up and break into the first team with the French side- who currently compete in Championnat National 2 Group D. His football education did not end after training with Béziers, though, due to his father who played for the club as well as coach after hanging up his boots following a career which also saw him spend time with Montpellier.
“My father played for Montpellier B when he was younger,” recalls Tristan. “He gave me the taste for football, and I think if it was not for him then maybe I wouldn’t be here. Since I was very young it has always been about football for me. My father played in midfield when he was young for Montpellier in the youth sides, and he also played for Béziers. He then became a coach after he finished playing. I started as a striker before dropping back into defence. He taught me a lot of things, like how to defend properly. I speak to him about my game every day and he gives me feedback, when I’m good he will tell me, and if I’m not he will tell me very straight.
“I’m proud, and so are my family which is important to me. I am still young, but I am with a Premier League club so it’s good to look back at where I have been in the Third Division in France. Before Christmas my family came to see me for my birthday and I was able to get home recently which was really nice.”
Moving away from France in the summer of 2020 and with restrictions on travel hanging over a lot of his time with The Bees due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Tristan has been able to embrace London and a new language. The 2020/21 season saw him play alongside fellow Frenchmen Aubrel Koutsimouka and Julien Carré, who have since moved on to pastures new. The trio had a close relationship and, of course, the pair were able to help Tristan to adapt to a new country and with translation.
The defender continued: “At the moment I feel really good, and I am enjoying being around the team. This season there aren’t any French speakers in the B Team, so it’s English all the time. I’m still learning and it’s getting better and better.
“When I came back for the new season it was a little bit hard to be without them (Aubrel and Julien) because they are my friends, but I’ve been able to build good relationships with the rest of the players like Wraynel (Hercules), Lewis (Gordon), Paris (Maghoma) and Nico (Jones.)
“When I hear English, I have to translate it and sometimes I use my phone to help which I then learn from. On the pitch it was hard at first because when I arrived, I only knew ‘hello.’ With my French teammates last season, they helped me learn the most important words for when you are playing like ‘man on’ or ‘time.’ It’s much easier on the pitch now.”
So, now in his second season with the young Bees, how has the youngster improved since arriving in West London and how has he adapted to English football?
“Physicality is the main improvement since I came here but I’ve also got better technically and tactically,” explained Tristan.
“There is more intensity than in France, you also have to be stronger. At Béziers they didn’t have a full-time academy where you train every day. My favourite game this season was against Swansea City because we played against a lot of players who have been playing in the Championship and we drew 2-2. I think I can do better with my game, definitely my focus for the whole 90 minutes. You can’t switch off for one minute in the game and I need to be consistent with that which I feel like I am getting better with.”
The recent Brentford XI friendly matches with Eastbourne Borough and Havant & Waterlooville gave the defender the chance to turn out in front of the First Team coaching staff. Tristan entered the field for the final 25 minutes of the match with Borough before playing the second half of the match with Havant and he enjoyed the chance to impress. The youngster says he's working hard to try and earn more opportunities to show his development in the coming months.
He continued: “I played 25 minutes (against Eastbourne) and it was my first chance to play for the First Team in a game. I wasn’t nervous because I just aim to do the best that I can all the time. I felt ready to play because of what I have learned from the B Team coaches as they have helped me every day. The First Team players help you too, none of them just play for themselves, they play for the team and try to help us young players.”