David Bates: Cercle Brugge, Scotland and developing as a defender

You are currently on loan at Cercle Brugge in Belgium. How are you enjoying your time at the club so far and how would you describe a club such as Cercle Brugge?

My time at Cercle Brugge has been really good so far. I have enjoyed every single minute since I have been here. The coaching staff and all the players have been really good. You can see with the start of the season we had that we have taken things game by game and we have been playing well. We don’t want to be one of these sides near the bottom we want to do well this season and Cercle Brugge are a club that wants to try and get better and have an aim which is quite nice that the club has ambition which is good.

You transferred from Rangers FC to Hamburger SV in Germany. How do you look back on your time at Hamburger SV so far and do you have any highlights or special memories?

Credit: Daniel0685

My first season ar Hamburger SV in particular I learned a lot it was one of my most enjoyable years in football. I was going into training everyday and playing matches and I enjoyed my football and played under some good coaches.

When I first arrived at the club Christian Titz was there as a manager and when you come from the Scottish Premier League to the Bundesliga things are very different. In Germany they want to play with the ball a lot and I have to say that Christian Titz taught me things that sometimes you don’t think of at all. The small details that you can overlook but they are so important. He was a very good coach for me and then Hannes Wolf came in and he was also very good.

It was just unfortunate that we had a bad end to the season and never good promoted which was a bit of a regret. The next season we wanted to push and try to achieve promotion again and we had a new manager and I was injured pre season and we also had a new Sports Director and sometimes they can have different ideas. I am now here at Cercle Brugge and I am enjoying my football again and the style and I like the European style of football.

You have been capped by your country of Scotland. How do you look back on representing your country and what are your highlights and memories of playing international football?

Credit: Dan Kearney

I have won four caps so far. Two were in the Nations League and two were in the European qualifiers. We won our Nations League group and those were the final two games that I made my debut against Albania away and Israel at home and winning those two games were very important. Scotland played the Euro 2020 semi-final play-off last month and that was important to the country to win hopefully win the two games to qualify for a major tournament. It is always a proud moment to get called up for your country and to play is even better. It’s a really good moment.

You have accrued good experience in Scotland, Germany and now Belgium. Could you say who are among the best players you have played alongside so far in your career?

Credit: Cercle Brugge

It’s hard because you ever really think about the best I have played with. I have been fortunate to play with many good players especially at international level with players that have played in the Premier League. I also played with Douglas Santos a Brazilian left back at Hamburger SV and he is now at Zenith St Petersburg in Russia. He is a really good player and you always knew that he would not last at Hamburger SV especially if he stayed in the Bundesliga.

Aaron Hunt was also at Hamburger SV a midfielder, he has got a bit older know but the quality of his left foot is just unbelievable and you always knew you were going to get quality at set pieces. The likes of Andy Robertson of Scotland and Liverpool FC he has achieved a lot also winning the Premier League and Champions League.

Credit: Eric Fish / DSC_4798

I can imagine in your position as a defender that you have come up against some difficult opponents through the years. Could you say which opponents have stood out for your in terms of talent and ability?

Credit: Sven Mandel

I remember playing a friendly with Hamburger SV against Bayern Munich and Franck Ribéry played in the same half of the pitch of me and Thiago Alcantara came on as substitute as well and both players were just different level. I think Thomas Müller played as well and the way that he dropped into different areas just maybe you think to yourself should I go and pick him up or stay and it makes you make decisions and he was a really good player.

Credit: Rufus46

When I played for Rangers FC you often play against good players when playing for Celtic FC too. But those three players stand out but also it was a friendly so it was a bit different but Bayern Munich still have quality and you could see that by them winning the Champions League last season.

Finally David. You mentioned Christian Titz at Hamburger SV Could you say who are the coaches and managers who have meant a lot to you and who have played a key role in your development as a professional football?

Yes, the one that stands the last couple of seasons would be Christian Titz as you said. The small details that he told me about even to the analylisten at Hamburger SV they did so much work and they would often give us videos of the games and we would watch them and the little clips were really helpful. I don’t think Christian Titz is in a job now. He went to manager a smaller club in Germany In Rot-Weiss Essen and he was a really good coach/ trainer.

Credit: Laura Hale

Obviously Paul Clement is also really good manager and you can see that he has got a high level as coach and he sees everything on the pitch and he does not miss a thing and I am really looking forward to playing under him this season at Cercle Brugge and hopefully do well as a player.

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