Tag Archives: Western Sydney Wanderers

Interview: Romeo Castelen of Western Sydney Wanderers

Another Dutchman down under Rogier Waalder catches up with Western Sydney Wanderers winger Romeo Castelen in an exclusive interview for Total Dutch Football.


RW: Firstly, it would be interesting to hear how you ended up at Western Sydney – how did the move come about?

RC: It was quite easy, I was playing in Holland and WSW coach Tony Popovic saw some games and contacted my agent and then he called me. We spoke for almost half an hour and he explained his idea about the club and his plans with me, and I was triggered by his professionalism and how he approaches the game and how he wanted to play. Actually, he really convinced me to come over.

RW: You played in the Eredivisie last season with RKC but ended up being relegated – was there an option to stay in Waalwijk and play in the Eerste Divsie?

RC: No there was no option to stay at the club at all. My old coach Erwin Koeman was there and he called me to join the side and it was only for one season and after that I will move on. It’s pity we got relegated, but when I was with them I did my best and I gave everything to the club.


RW: Had you been to Australia before this move and how are you enjoying life in Australia?

RC: I had never been to Australia before but it was always a plan for my family to come here on holidays. However, it never got to that point, now we’re actually living here now. It’s great, it’s warm here and my wife also enjoys it. For us, living here is great. It’s a great country for the children, the people are really friendly, so living here is really great.


RW: What attracted to you about playing for Western Sydney in the A-League?

RC: Attracted about the story of the club and the coach. I checked it online to see how many fans they attract in such a small period. This is something I always like to go play for clubs where there is a great fanbase. My first professional club Den Haag also had a great base, then I went to Feyenoord, then to Hamburg in Germany – they all had big fans. The story really attracted me and what the coach told me.

Romeo Castelen machte in der letzten Bundesliga-Saison kein Spiel für den HSV

RW: You’ve played for ADO, Feyenoord and Hamburg in the past, how does the atmosphere inside the Pirtek Stadium compare to your former clubs?

RC: I’ve played for clubs which have 50-60,000 people in Germany and my first professional club only had 11,000 but the atmosphere was crazy. So I like that the people and the fans here are very passionate, it’s a good feeling that in good and bad times, it’s a good advert for an A-League club how the fans always come in big numbers at home and away games.


RW: What are your ambitions for this coming season?

RC: Biggest goal is to qualify for the next round of the Asian Champions League, this is our biggest goal as the season ended very disappointing for us. But that waas due to the schedule and other reasons, new team and new players that need time to gel. It’s very disappointing but we still have the ACL which we are putting everything on.


RW: You’ve played your games in the heat of the Aussie summer, are you more of a summer or winter person?

RC: Well in Europe we always play in the Winter, it is a different experience to play in the heat and normally like in the beginning of the season and the end of the season there’s a small period where it’s warm. But here, the majority of the season is very hot and humid – it’s a different game. The pace of the game is different, it was a good experience but now I’m used to it.


RW: What’s been he biggest difference between Western Sydney and your previous clubs?

RC: Biggest difference they were already had a big history and the Wanderers have only been around for three years. The clubs like Hamburg, is the oldest existing club in the Bundesliga. I mean you cannot compare the fanbase, there’s a massive fanbase at the clubs in other countries. I think Western Sydney are on a good way to match that in a few years, hopefully.


RW: If there was one former teammate of yours from a previous club that you could play with at Western Sydney who would it be and why?

RC: Nigel de Jong who currently plays at AC Milan, I would love it because he’s a good friend of mine.


RW: Finally, what do you think the KNVB should do with Guus Hiddink?

RC: He’s a well respected coach and I mean getting the job in the first place, let the coach finish the job and hopefully we qualify for the Euro. I always feel like we have to give the coach the responsibility to finish the job.


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Western Sydney Wanderers ready to top with Castelen

The Western Sydney Wanderers have enjoyed a charmed life in the A-League since their inception two years ago with successive second place finishes.  This meteoric rise from nothing to powerhouses of the Australian football scene was in part down to the recruitment of an astute young manager, Tony Popovic but also a playing roster that had excellent balance and experience.

However, since the end of last season, the Wanderers have lost key components of their team with the likes of Shinji Ono, Aaron Mooy, Youssouf Hersi and Jerome Polenz all departing for pastures new.

Popovic himself was rumoured to be leaving to seek a new challenge but instead has stayed on and clearly the challenge of rebuilding this successful side is one that appeals to him.  So all eyes were then on his player recruitment and the early signings of Dean Bouzanis and the Brazilian Vitor Saba from Brescia were steps in the right direction.  The announcement this week of the signing of former Dutch international Romeo Castelen has really set tongues wagging and the Wanderers firmly believe that they’ve picked up a potential star.

Castelen was released by the relegated Eredivisie side RKC Waalwijk at the end of last season and despite some good offers to stay in Europe, has decided to try a new adventure Down Under.  The diminutive right winger has been capped 10 times for Oranje and a lot is riding on him to be the creative force in the team that Hersi was over the past 2 seasons.  Castelen certainly has the pedigree to not only match, but eclipse Hersi’s stellar spell in the red and black jersey.  Castelen, who was born in Suriname, started his career with ADO Den Haag and after 3 productive seasons with them joined Feyenoord.  It was here that he established his career and earned his International Caps but his time at the club was cut short by injuries.  Castelen moved over the border to Hamburg but failed to reach his previous highs and only played 17 first team games in 4 seasons.

Castelen took a sabbatical after his Hamburg contract expired and after a year out of the game signed on for Russian outfit Volga Nizhny Novgorod, but again injuries cursed him and he was released after only playing 2 games in his first season.  RKC then offered him a lifeline and seemingly with his injuries behind him was a star performer in an otherwise disappointing season that ended in relegation.  Castelen ended up playing 29 games and scoring 6 times and this form is what has pricked the attention of Popovic and in fact it was Popovic himself who’s words of inspiration convinced Castelen to make the move to Sydney.

Much will be expected of Castelen in Wanderers colours as they seek to try and better the runner-up slot and go one better.  If he can produce the form from his early Feyenoord days and last season with RKC then the Wanderers will have one of the most exciting players in the league on their books.  Let’s hope for Castelen, the Wanderers and the A-League that his injuries are behind him and he enjoys his time in Australia.


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