WL: Sergio, firstly, let's begin with your time in Argentina; how did you get into football? Did you play regularly over there?
ST: Yeah, I've been playing since I was about 5 years old - that's when I started kicking the ball. I was playing for my home town team until I was around twenty one. I then played as a semi-professional in the 4th division for a couple of years and then had my chance to come and play in Europe. In Argentina, it's very difficult - if you're not in the top league by the age of twenty or twenty-one, it's very hard to make it as a professional footballer. For me, the dream was always to be a professional player so that's when I wanted to try my luck in Europe.
WL: So when you said you wanted to come over to Europe, what did your parents say? Were they happy with you coming abroad at a relatively young age?
ST: My Dad always supported me in football and he always wanted me to do well. However, my Mother didn't want me to go, she didn't want to miss her little boy! With me coming to England and not speaking English (at the time), she was a little worried. They've both supported me though and now I've been in England for 9 years so they've kind of got used to it!
WL: They keep coming over to see you now and again, I think they came up to Bury on the CTSA (Crawley Town Supporters Alliance).
ST: Yeah, they come maybe once or twice a year. My Dad especially misses watching me play football and they both come over. They came to Old Trafford as well which I suppose is the "main game" really!
|Sergio with his Mum and Dad after the game at Rotherham last season|
ST: Yeah definitely - it taught me a lot about the English game. When I went to Brighton, I knew that I needed to adapt to the English game - I had to learn how to tackle more than anything. At Molesley and Basingstoke I learnt a lot, learnt how to tackle and how to defend. Both are a key part of the game and I feel that I am a more complete player now than when I first came to England.
WL: John Gorman then brought you to Wycombe. How grateful are you to him in giving you your big chance at being a professional?
ST: He's a legend to me. He's a great man. He was not only a good manager but he treated us all as if he was our Dad and I will always be thankful to him for giving me that chance that I was looking for since I came (to England). He's great.
WL: Do you still keep in contact with him (Gorman)?
ST: Every now and then I send him a message. I know he's retired from the game now but he's just a really nice man.
WL: You were then signed by Peterborough, unfortunately, injuries held you back a little, do you feel you could have been a regular in the Championship for them?
ST: I played about 9 games and I really enjoyed it when we played. Unfortunately, we got relegated back to League 1 that season. It was difficult - It was a good move for me but I kept getting injured here and there and I missed Wycombe quite a bit too - I spent 3 years there (Wycombe) and my head was a little over the place but thankfully I came to Crawley and it all came to life again. I've really had the most amazing and enjoyable two-and-a-half years here!
WL: Indeed. Now, you're a little bit of a legend here (Crawley) and I said to you on Twitter today about my favourite moment being that goal against Derby. Talk me through it. What was that like!?
ST: Wow! It was unbelievable! You're right, it was you that said it today and I had a look (at the video footage). It gives me goosebumps every time I see it and it was amazing! It's hard to explain that type of feeling - it was something that I've never had before in my life. It was the whole occasion, the club being in the 3rd round of the FA Cup for the first time in quite a few years, beating Derby - a Championship side and the whole crowd going crazy! It was just... unbelievable!
Check the video below out for Sergio's moment in Crawley history:
WL: So when the ball did come to you from Deano's (Dean Howell's) corner. What were you thinking? Just pass it in or slam it and hope for the best?!
ST: I tried just to keep it on target because I knew where the goal was but there were a lot of bodies in there. I thought if I smash it it could go anywhere! It's split second and you have to make the decision. Fortunately, I just opened my foot up and it went in there. I missed a chance just before when it was flicked off the line but thankfully, it went in!
WL: As you've said, you've been here (Crawley) for two-and-a-half years, did you think it would be this good when you signed?!
ST: No! I knew we had a good team when I signed. Steve Evans (Crawley manager at the time) told me we were proper going for it and I was really looking forward to the challenge ahead to fight for promotion. I never thought we'd be playing against the likes of Manchester United at Old Trafford - that was the dream. Even Stoke in the FA Cup. It's amazing and I don't know how many games I've played for us but I haven't lost many for Crawley Town. The boys have been great, it's been a really enjoyable time for me and I'm now one of the longest serving players I think!
WL: You've recently become a father for the first time, how's fatherhood treating you? Sleepless nights?!
ST: Nah! She's (Sergio's daughter) been pretty good. She wakes up quite early sometimes to be fair. Sometimes it's 6am she's up! Me and the missus take turns with 1 night each but it's amazing and having a baby is the best thing in the world. We're definitely going to have another one soon (Laughs)!
WL: You know Russell Martin (Norwich City defender) and I think I remember seeing on your Twitter that he'd got either (Sergio) Aguero or (Fabricio) Coloccini's shirt. Are they hanging in your house?
ST: Haha! It was Aguero's... In fairness, I need to get them framed! Russ is a good friend of mine and whenever he is going to be playing against an Argentinian player he's always got me in his ear asking him to get me a shirt!
|GET SHIRTY: Russell (L) and Sergio (R) with Aguero's shirt|
ST: I want to still play. I don't know what level but hopefully I'll still be playing for a few more years yet. I'm still really enjoying it and just want to keep fit. I've recently started studying a Sports Science course with Josh (Simpson) at Manchester University. It's a long distance and it's me, Josh and Sads (Mat Sadler) who have to go up there next week. It's going to be a long trek!
Many thanks to Sergio for taking the time out to speak to me.