From kickabouts at his home estate in London to playing an instrumental part in AFC Bournemouth’s incredible run in the Premier League, Cherries winger Junior Stanislas has made a name for himself. Performing at your best in the top flight takes belief in your own ability, the confidence of your manager, and the determination to better your rivals.
On the next episode of The Perfect Athlete podcast, Junior joins Chris Billam-Smith to pull back the curtain on how the team takes on a unique challenge week on week, the need to find positives from every game – even the losses, and why Junior initially turned down the promise of the prem in favour of Eddie Howe’s leadership at Dean Court.
“I grew up in an estate; estate life was having 30-40 of your friends have a kick around on the walls and the concrete. Further down the line we had an astroturf built in the estate. From then onwards, it was just morning ‘till night, spending the whole day in there.” – Junior Stanislas
“I don’t let the kids win if I play football in the garden with Alex, who’s football mad. He’s with the under 9’s at Bournemouth. I don’t let him win anything – because there will come a day where they beat me.” – Junior Stanislas
“But one thing we were always taught was to pass the ball, and to always look forward and play forward. So even to this day, I try as much as I can to not pass backwards. If I have to go sideways, I’ll go sideways, but mainly I’m always looking to play forward.” – Junior Stanislas
“If you’re climbing up the table and you’re in a decent position, and you might lose a game by one, but score two or three goals, you individually will leave there not feeling so bad.” – Junior Stanislas
“I find penalties hard to recreate. When you’re standing over the ball in training with no one there and it’s just you and a keeper, if you miss then it’s no big deal; you don’t really feel the nerves.” – Junior Stanislas
“I love the team atmosphere, but I also like being in control of the situation. And if I lose like when I’ve lost in the past, I’ve loved being able to take that burden myself. At least I lost because it was me and not because it was out of my control.” – Chris Billam-Smith
“Obviously you expect preseason to be tough. The good thing Bournemouth is that, although it is tough – and it’s really tough – it’s all with the ball.” – Junior Stanislas
“If there’s a player you admire from one of the big teams in your position and he’s running more than you, scoring more than you, assisting more than you, you have to look at what he’s doing. And if he’s running more than you then that’s something easy to fix – you have to run more!” – Junior Stanislas
“You come in from training and they’ve got lunch set up for you. The only meal you have to look after is dinner, which you’d like to think the lads are doing properly. It’s the snack after dinner that’s the killer! The chocolates and the cereals and things like that you’ve got to be careful of, but for the most part I think most of the lads do it properly.” – Junior Stanislas