by CHRISTIAN ARAOS
Maxime Chanot has settled into life at New York City FC. He was able to spend an entire preseason with the team for the first time and started both games at the start of the 2017 Major League Soccer season. Chanot said he has plenty to be happy about.
“Only one goal allowed in two games is not so bad but I think at the moment it’s too early to get ahead of ourselves,” Chanot, a center back, said. “We have to see what’s going to happen in the next few games and see if we’re going to be happy with this.”
Chanot spoke with EoS over the phone on Wednesday after NYCFC’s training session. He has been with the club since last July when he signed from Belgian club FV Kortrijk, but missed part of last season with a herniated disk. Recovery in the off-season allowed him to participate in preseason, which Chanot said has helped him feel more comfortable at the club.
“It was not easy to come in during the middle of the season,” said the Luxembourg international. “It was a new league for me, new football for me but now after preseason with the team, I’m feeling more comfortable. I’m playing on my right foot so it’s much better for me and I’m looking forward to keep going like that and try to play as well as we can as group and for myself.”
Chanot started both games this season at right center back, moving from the left. He also tried playing right back during the team’s friendly in Ecuador against Emelec and he said that he could play there if Coach Patrick Vieira asked him. Playing on the right side, he said, does help him perform better under Vieira’s system.
“I’m feeling more comfortable because I’m right-footed and the way Patrick Vieira wants us to play asking us to make a lot of short passes against the high pressing we get from the other teams, it’s much easier for me to be on my right side. I’ve always played on the right side since I began playing as a professional ten years so it comes automatically and I feel more comfortable and more confident when I have the ball.”
The signing of Alex Callens enabled Chanot’s move to the right side. Together, the two have quickly developed an understanding of how to play from the back while remaining organized defensively. They have started both regular-season games and have only allowed one goal. The 1-0 loss to Orlando City still disappoints, Chanot said, but the partnership with Callens has been encouraging.
“I think we are both feeling good together at this moment,” Chanot said. “Alex is a very good player, he’s very good with his feet, he’s strong and quick and it’s working well for the moment. We’ve only played three-four games together, only two games in preseason and two games in the league and we did pretty well. It’s too early to give feedback now so let’s see what’s going to happen in the next few games.”
Chanot was more interested in seeing how the next few games for club and country play out. He received the call from Luxembourg’s national team for its World Cup qualifying match against France on March 25. He said flying back-and-forth across the Atlantic is a fact of life for players who want to play in the United States.
“It’s always not easy to go back to Europe but we have to be clever and honest,” he said. “We’ve got time between the games with the national team and the next New York City game so there’s plenty of time, almost like eight days so I have time to recuperate so I’m not worried about this. I think when we’re you’re a professional, you have to manage this and it’s not a problem. My body is ready and I’m ready.”