Felix speaks about Mourinho, Ghana’s call-up & more

Andy Mattioli

Youngster Felix Afena-Gyan has had a remarkable past few weeks. Since making his senior debut in Roma’s away match at Cagliari, Felix has received an invitation to Ghana’s national team (which he declined) and the chance to regularly train under the watchful eye of Jose Mourinho.

Felix was recently interviewed by Gianluca Di Marzio of Sky Sport where he shared his thoughts on his rapid development.

“I have had this great passion for football since I was little. I played in one of the best academies in my country, thanks above all to the support of my family. I’ve always been determined to be a footballer.”

On how Roma came to find him:

“A club scout spotted me at a tournament in Ghana and took me to the capital for an audition. Roma decided to put me under contract immediately. And it was an opportunity that I never expected in my life.”

“I am grateful to the club and to God for that. If I am here today I owe it above all to my mother, to her I must say thank you. She is the one who is doing the most for me at this stage in my life.”

On Mourinho:

“He is a great coach, especially with young players. He is a coach who encourages you, who motivates you, I like him a lot.”

“He pushes you and encourages you to do what he wants, to give the best of yourself and to improve day after day. I believe that this relationship with me is due to the commitment I put into every training session, to my hard work on the pitch.”

“I’m sure that if I didn’t try as hard as I do, the coach might not have mentioned me in a photo on Instagram like he did.”

On Mourinho referring to Felix as a player “with special qualities”:

“Probably the coach refers to some of my characteristics, I am aware of my speed and of attacking the depth, the spaces.”

“I am convinced that I have to take advantage of his experience and that of the first team staff to learn something new every day.”

On his decision to decline the national team call-up:

“I felt it was too early for me to answer the call from the national team because I need to grow, physically but also mentally and psychologically.”

“I also thought it was important for me to stay at Trigoria to undergo training under Mourinho’s orders, to continue improving and growing. I have a lot of respect for my national team and I hope to be able to be part of it in the future.”

“The coach asked me if I would go and I told him I didn’t feel ready yet. But it was my decision. I thought it was premature for me to take such a step.”

On the players he learns from the most in training:

“I always observe Tammy and Shomurodov, I learn a lot from them, from how they move on the pitch.”

“When I’m on the bench, and I watch them from the outside, I observe their movements to try to copy them, to learn, because they are players who are obviously far ahead of me.”

“In the locker room everyone is really giving me a helping hand, we are a team, we talk to each other and if I happen to do something that is not right, there is always someone who points it out to help me.”

“I speak to everyone, to those who know English best, like Pellegrini who always helps me a lot. Even during training, if there is an exercise that the coach explains in Italian, his teammates come over and make sure I understand.”

On a dream turning into reality:

“I really thank everyone for the support and love with which they treated me. In particular, I thank all the Primavera coaches and players because it is thanks to their support that I am now here in the first team.”

On personal objectives for the season:

“Surely the hope is to score the first goal in Serie A. I am a striker and I would always like to score. I would like to score every time I play to help the team.”

Match Center

MatchDay 37
19 May 20:45