“The time has come to convince people”

Ilia Gruev speaks to the media on Thursday ahead of Darmstadt game

Ilia Gruev was able to start against both Dresden and Heidenheim in Werder's last two games. (Photo: nordphoto)
First Team
Thursday, 14.10.2021 / 17:18

When SV Werder take on SV Darmstadt 98 on Sunday afternoon (13:30 CEST), Ilia Gruev could well be an option from the start for Markus Anfang, something which hasn’t always been a constant with him. “I’ve waited a long, long time for my chance,” said Gruev, talking to the media on Thursday.

Gruev is one of the players to have successfully made the leap from the WERDER Performance Centre to the pitch of the wohninvest WESERSTADION. Gruev realised something when he came off the bench in the Nordderby against HSV last month: “The time has come to convince people.”

He’s not the first player who has made the journey to the first team through the Wilhelm Scharnow academy – current teammate Manuel Mbom also came into the side this way. “Manu and I have known each other since about 15 years of age,” said Gruev. “Back then, we used to sit together with the other lads at the academy and watch Werder games from the Ostkurve.” Now, he is one of the players being watched by thousands on the pitch. His two starts in the last two games have made him extremely happy. “That was a great moment – to play in front of 30,000 Werder fans and win the game.”

Ilia has learned a lot from two former Werderaner: Davy Klaassen and Nuri Sahin. “Davy played a bit more offensively than me, but I still learned a lot from him. He always gave 110% in training, is confident on both feet and has a brilliant football brain. The same goes for Nuri Sahin, who helped me a lot. Even when he was a competitor for my position on paper, he always said that I should be patient, and I would get my chance,” said Gruev.


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