A new FC Zenit St. Petersburg player Jacob Gabriel Gardiner-Smith whose coming to the club surprised many football fans, including The St. Petersburg Travel Guide, gave his first interview in Russia (and in his career) with the Championat.com sports website. He denied that his father provided him any assistance in negotiating with Zenit, said he sees coming here as a challenge and expressed hope he would one day play for the Zenit’s first team and the England’s national team.
We highlighted some points from the interview we found interesting.
Jacob, as the interviewer wrote, speaks Russian rather fluently, can order food at a restaurant, talk to teammates and so on, in spite of having learned just for 6 months. He’s being helped by his older brother who teaches Russian language and literature at Oxford. The interview was in English, though.
He uses public transport to get around, sometimes someone of teammates gives him a lift.
He explained choosing Russia for football career by his wish to live in another country, get familiar with other cultures, try another kind of football and have trainings with foreign coaches. He’s been in love with Russia since his childhood, the country where his family has a lot of friends. Gardiner first came to Russia, St. Petersburg, when he was only five years old, and the only things to remember from that visit are cold and snow, lots of snow.
«When I started to play football I decided to do it at a place where I feel like at home. Russia is a good country for it», he said in an interview.
St. Petersburg is, perhaps, the most beautiful city which he has visited. In Russia people are very friendly, here one has more chances to get help than in London. Gardiner tried vodka, but just because of curiosity.
He trained with Spartak Moscow and CSKA, but at that time he was too young to sign a contract. The question whether he wanted to stay with these teams he answers that he is at Zenit now and doesn’t want to talk about the past.
How come he is in St. Petersburg now? It’s totally about his own decision and his agent’s business, his father, Barry Gardiner, the Labour’s shadow secretary, has nothing to do with it. «My family has never told me what to do», he said. And he doesn’t have any interest in politics.
Last, but not least. He arrived for the interview in time. Not that a very rare thing in Russia, but coming late is also rather widely seen. Well, a true gentleman’s style, good thing to start.