Kovács János believes that he can help the youngsters.
Honvéd got stronger the past few days with the acquisition of an experienced defender. János Kovács spent the past 8 years abroad and signed a 3 year contract with the club. We inquired about his past and future.
You returned home after spending 8 years in England, , so its no wonder a lot of people don’t know much about you. So let’s start with a quick introduction.
I’m János Kovács, I’m 27 years odl and started my soccer career in Óbuda, in District III. At age 11 I went to MTK, where I played through all youth age groups. I also spend time in Agárd, and in Bodajk, who was MTK’s affiliate.
How did you end up in England?
At age 19, I transferred back to MTK and Sanyi Egervári allowed me to play in one game against Fradi. I had an opportunity to try out at Chesterfield in the English 3rd division. They were looking for a young interior defender, the focus being on young. Thank God, the club’s directors liked my style and they signed me to a contract. I fell in love with the atmosphere there. Even though I went there on a tryout as a nobody, the enthusiastic fans came up and asked me for my autograph. That felt very good. It seems like yesterday, but in actuality it was 8 years ago.
It must have been great to play in the country that invented soccer. Was England your dream, or did you want to play somewhere else?
Playing in England has been my dream since childhood. My favorite team has always been Manchester United. English soccer always had a special place in my heart. I was 19 years old when I went to England. I learned and experienced a lot during that time. I’ve had lots of positive and some not so positive memories. I understand that since I played abroad from the age of 19, I’m looked at as a dark horse, since not too many people know about me. For me, it’s an honor to return home.
Why don’t you tell us a story about your experience. For example something that has gotten a lot of publicity at home.
That has to be when we knocked Norwich City out of the English FA Cup. I spent the last season at Luton, where I was fortunate to be able to participate in a fantastic FA Cup tournament. We beat several big name first and second division clubs in the process. We made history, since there has never been an instance when such a low division club knocked out a premier league team at their home field. It was an unbelievable experience. We knocked out such teams as Wolverhampton, Norwich City and we finally lost to Millwall. I still get goose bumps as I think of the Norwich match, when we played in front of about 30,000 people. I also had the opportunity to play in a playoff final at the sacred ground of soccer, Wembley stadium in front of 40,000 people. These are wonderful memories.
Why did you choose to sign with Honvéd?
When I made the decision to return home for good, I was looking for a stable environment. During the summer I started to train with Győri ETO, under excellent circumstances. I trained with the team for 5 days, but unfortunately I got injured. Attila Pintér indicated to me that he’s looking for someone exactly like me. Due to my injury, I couldn’t play in any pre-season games, since it took 4-5 weeks to heal. By the time I healed, the makeup of the team has been decided.
Thank God, the opportunity arose at Kispest, so I went for a tryout. During my two weeks here, I saw a lot of positive signs. In the past I’ve had many conversations with my good friend Szabi Kemenes. He had a lot of positive things to say about the club. I was excited to hear about Honvéd’s interest, since it’s an honor to play for one of the marquee clubs in the country. I would have been crazy not to accept their offer. In England, if they talk about Hungarian soccer, nine out of ten people will bring up the names of Puskás and Honvéd.
Do you think you can make the team in the center of the defense? How disappointed will you be if you don’t make the team?
Nothing and no one can take away my spirit. I know that every player has to fight for a spot. This competition is what makes a team stronger. I learned that in England. If I try to play better, my teammate will try harder and this will make the team stronger. I believe in a hard fought and fair competition.