‘He has had a big influence in my career’ – City star ready for reunion with Klopp in the Premier League
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Mario Vrancic is looking forward to a return to top-flight football – and a reunion with the man who has just masterminded one of the biggest comebacks in European footballing history.
The relationship between the Canaries midfielder and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp goes back 15 years and the Reds' stunning 4-0 demolition of Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals on Tuesday simply confirms the huge task facing City next season.
Vrancic made his debut in the Bundesliga against Bayern Munich for Mainz as a 17-year-old. The man who gave him that opportunity was Klopp and after three seasons of limited action in the second tier, the man now leading Liverpool's revival took him to Borussia Dortmund.
"Obviously he has had a big influence in my career, he was my first senior manager, I've known him for almost 15 years now," Vrancic said of Klopp. "We are still in touch. Obviously he is one of the most important people in my career. He signed me for Borussia Dortmund when I was in a very difficult situation and gave me kind of a second chance from there. From thereon I developed very well in the right direction and he has had a very huge influence on my career."
Vrancic made over 70 appearances in the German top flight, suffering relegation with Paderborn and Darmstadt, and is excited for another chance to compete at the top level.
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"I'm just looking forward to playing against each and every team, regardless of whether it's at the Etihad or Old Trafford, or Carrow Road, which is very nice to play at," he said.
It was at Paderborn where the classy midfielder found his form, earning automatic promotion to the top flight in 2014.
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"As a young player I became a pro at 16 and didn't know how to handle certain situations and my development wasn't like everyone expected it," he continued.
"As a young player you are not used to the load in training sessions, I was injured for a few years very often, but I got used to it and got better."
Vrancic overcame a slow start at Norwich to play a key role under Daniel Farke. Asked if Farke's methods will work in the Premier League, Vrancic replied: "Yes, definitely. We need to work on certain areas obviously and the club will make some more signings to develop our team (but) it will work, definitely."