Exclusive Interview: Elche and Real Oviedo Centre Back Charlie I’Anson

The only Englishman playing in La Liga has spoke exclusively to ElWriteBack.

Charlie I’Anson was born in Luton on the 1st July 1993. He moved to Spain at a young age where he played youth football for Atlético Benamiel along side current Real Madrid star, Isco. He joined Conference side Grimsby Town and made his first team debut at the tender age of 17. I’Anson went onto score in this game in a 2-0 victory over Mansfield Town. Whilst at Blundell Park, the centre back gained his Level Two coaching badge and he regularly looks up on how The Mariners are doing. During his time at Town the Lincolnshire Cup Winner was called up to the England C squad for a fixture against India U23’s, but the game never went ahead. I’Anson left Grimsby in May 2012 after turning down a new contract.

Following his exit from Blundell Park, I’Anson made his way to Spain where he managed to get a trial with Elche. He was offered a contract where he captained the sides reserves to promotion in 2012-13. Following a number of successful performances I’Anson made his first-team debut in a 2-1 win over Espanyol (October 2013) and then went onto make his second start for Elche against Granada five months later. A number of loan spells at Clubs such as Real Murcia, AD Alcorcón and current club Real Oviedo have provided a path to the Englishman’s development.

Charlie I'Anson (Elche)
Charlie I’Anson (Elche)
How did you originally get into football?

I started playing as a kid, when I was seven.

 Who was your hero as a kid?

John Terry.

You moved to Spain at a young age, how easily did you adapt to Spanish Life?

At first it was a bit complicated with the language, going to school but in the afternoon when I did Spanish lessons, it got a lot easier.

How did this initial move to Spain play a part on your football career?

Well I was still young so I wasn’t a professional. I was still a kid so I was enjoying football a lot. The only difference was that in Spain it was on artificial pitch and a different way of playing football.

What was it like playing and training with Isco at Atlético Benamiel?

Well there were some very talented and good players at the club, but defiantly every player and parent or even those who worked at the club thought that if he doesn’t make it then no one will. He was so talented and he worked more than anyone, after training he would take a ball and go play or do kick ups around a pitch.

Charlie I'Anson (Left) and youth team mate Isco (Right)
Charlie I’Anson (Left) and youth team mate Isco (Right)
You scored on your Grimsby debut against Mansfield, what do you remember from the whole match day experience at the tender age of 17?

Well the best thing of the day was when the manager said to me that he was going to give me my first start. I was nervous but at the same time so excited. It was a hard game and I was so happy at the end to get a clean sheet and it was a bonus to get on the score board, it was a fantastic day. I had my father in the crowd and a good friend, Ed Eley was also there watching.

Charlie I'Anson (Grimsby Town)
Charlie I’Anson (Grimsby Town)
What do you remember from the Lincolnshire derby against rivals Lincoln City?

I loved them! It was a great day for the fans, team and the club, it was always a game which was going to be feisty and the game always got heated. I even got badly injured in one match away from home, but it was a game which any player always wanted to play in.

What made you leave Grimsby Town?

I couldn’t come to an agreement with Grimsby Town. I don’t like to talk about it much because it was a shame because the manger put a lot of faith in me by giving me a chance, but when I got injured I was out for a long time and couldn’t get back in to the side. It came down to decision time and we couldn’t come to an agreement which I really wanted too.

Charlie I'Anson
Charlie I’Anson (Grimsby Town)
Do you still see and speak to any of your Grimsby team mates?

It is very hard, but I see one or two if they come to visit like Lawrence Heward and Andi Thanoj. I talk to a lot of them which is good.

In 2012 you joined Elche, how did this opportunity come about?

I came back to Spain with nothing and I was at home very nervous to be honest, I was playing trial games against teams who were in the 2b and we were a team of players without teams. I got a chance to get a trial at Elche B team who were in the 3rd division and I did really well, then Vicente Mir signed me.

Charlie I'Anson (Elche)
Charlie I’Anson (Elche)
What differences have you noticed since this time between the Spanish and English leagues?

There are a few things, the tempo of the game in England is higher maybe because the referee lets the game play more than here, I don’t know. In Spain they work a bit more on technical things, but it’s hard to say because I played in the low leagues in England but I play in the high leagues in Spain.

How did you adapt to these differences?

Well I think to myself everything that is different is good as I can adapt my game and learn from it as well as take on board different things from each team and manager. It was hard at first but now it is all okay.

How important have loan moves been in your development as a player?

Well this year has been a bit too much with many moves and stuff but they are defiantly important as it gets you games. Different leagues allow you to be always learning and adapting. This helps make a good and long future hopefully.

Charlie I'Anson Training
Charlie I’Anson Training
What do you feel the best strengths you have as a player are?

For a defender I think I’m quick, very intense and love to do my job which is stopping the ball going in the net.

Also, where do you need to improve in order to develop even further with your career?

My left foot has got better but needs more and also my passing can always get better.

How challenging was it making you Elche first team debut against a team such as RCD Espanyol?

It was an unbelievable feeling in the body which I have never felt before, and also a good experience to develop my game and play against one of the top strikers in the Spanish League, Sergio Garcia. It made me up my game and I got a lot of positive stuff out from the players and game.

Charlie I'Anson during his Elche debut
Charlie I’Anson during his Elche debut
Real Oviedo are currently 1st in the SEGUNDA B – Group 1, how important will promotion be for the club?

It would be everything they deserve, what the club has suffered was not good, and now people in the club, the fans, people from all other the world and us as players, are doing everything to put the club in right direction and the place it should be which is the minimum of Segunda football. It has got great facilities, stadium and also people.

Has this been your most enjoyable season (2014/15) in your career?

Defiantly not, I’ve only just started to enjoy my season which was hard going to Murcia and not signing which put me in no man’s world. Then I went to Alcorcon, but I am finally at Real Oviedo where I’ve started to learn and enjoy my football.

Charlie I'Anson during his Elche debut
Charlie I’Anson during his Elche debut
Finally, who’s the best player you have come up against?

Sergio Garcia (Espanyol) and Arabi (Granada).

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