Academy starlet targets bright future at Stoke
Stoke City youth striker Karim Rossi is targeting a future first team spot with the Potters, and has hailed the advice given from the likes of Mamady Sidibe and Cameron Jerome.
The 17-year-old is enjoying his first year in the Potteries, and attracted interest from Newcastle United and Bolton Wanderers before opting to move to the Britannia from Grasshoppers in the summer.
The Switzerland youth international said : " I'm very happy in stoke , I think that the conditions are perfect.
"The move from home wasn`t so hard because I was already away from home last year in Zurich because my family live in Lausanne, so I was already on my own there.
"But like every person sometimes you miss your friends and family and I think that`s the hardest thing to be away from home."
Karim likens himself to his namesake, Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema, and he is dreaming of playing for the Potters on the biggest stage.
"I would like to see myself in the first team, playing in the Europa League or Champions League.
"First I want to be in the first team squad as quick as I can, then get a loan to a Championship or League One club.
" I hope to have a good career in England because I love this country, the mentality, and the passion for Football."
But whilst he has big ambitions, he admits work is needed to improve areas of his game, and like many young foreign players, he is still getting to grips with the English style.
"The Season is OK at the moment for me; the first year in a new club is not always easy.
I had to adapt, and that takes time, I need to be stronger to play English Football," he admitted.
But the striker says the advice given from the senior players has really helped.
"I really like Cameron Jerome because every time I trained with the first team he gave me advice on how to be better.
"I also spoke with Salif Diao, I speak with him really often because he speaks French and he helped me when I came, so I have a good relationship with him. Mamady Sidibe also gave me advice."
Rossi prides himself on his lethal finishing and technical ability, and after scoring an impressive goal against Walsall reserves in the summer, he couldn`t hide his delight in front of an on-looking Tony Pulis, as he celebrated by high-fiving the bench.
"That's my favourite celebration," he explained.
"When I score I normally run to the bench and celebrate it with all of the team, but against Walsall when I scored I just high-fived the Staff, it was really funny.
"It was a really good performance from us, because we had only one professional (Florent Cuvelier), for me it was a quiet game, I had only two chances and scored one, I was quite lucky."
Karim heaped praise on his academy teammates, and has been particularly impressed with Austria under-18 goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann, and defender Andy Hall, who he describes as being 'like a lion' on the pitch.
"We have a really good team.
"Daniel Bachmann has saved us a few times in hard games. And Andy Hall, he's really quiet, but when he`s on the pitch he's like a lion, he wins everything."
Karim will be hoping to push City towards the top of the Academy league table this year, with the Potters currently lying in 6th place, with 18 points from 11 games.
If you want to know more about the academy, visit http://www.stokecityfc.com/page/Academy/
By Tom Mckeon