LCF Corner with Apostolos Giannou

Greek born Giannou migrated from his home town Naousa to Melbourne with his family in 1999. Apostolos, a very grounded individual, attributes a large amount of his footballing development mainly to the guidance of his father Takis, a former professional footballer, and several coaches throughout his career including, Ernie Merrick, Ian Greener, Ange Postecoglou, Aad De Moss and Georgios Georgiadis.

Apostolos Giannou playing for Asteras Tripolis in the Greek Super League

LCF: Hi Apostolos, thank you for your time. For those who are not aware of your footballing background could you give us a short history of your career?
AG: Sure, I moved to Greece at 17 where I signed my first professional contract for Super League Club Apollon Kalamarias, from then on I moved to Kavala FC, PAOK spent some time on loan at Platanias FC, then moved to Panionios and lastly to Asteras Tripoli.
In recent seasons I managed to play very well and score consistently which led to getting called up to the Greek national team and then getting an opportunity to play in China for Guangzhou R&F where I am now, also after some work behind the scenes I was notified that I would still be eligible to play for Australia which was my dream and not long after my move to China I was contacted by Ange to be a part of the recent Soceroos camp.
LCF: How did you feel you fit into the team?
AG: I think i fitted in well, it’s a very structured and attacking brand of football. I think it suits my playing style so the adaption felt natural, I really enjoyed being on the park with so many quality players.
LCF: How did you bond with your new teammates?
AG: Boys were amazing and very down to earth, they made me feel part of the team from the first day of the camp.
LCF: Who did u room with?
AG: Brad smith


LCF: Advice for your young players wanting to become pro
AG: Train hard and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Stay focused and don’t give up but the most important is to enjoy your football!
LCF: Advice for young players wanting to play professionally abroad
AG: It’s very tough moving overseas by yourself to play football, you have to be very mentally strong to overcome all of the obstacles along the way and remain focused all while being alone and far away from your family so it takes a lot of self discipline and a resilient attitude.
LCF: Your biggest influence
AG: Definitely my parents, I guess dad mostly, he is someone I have always looked up to but also has a great understanding of football and always gave me great feedback from him when I was younger and even now when I play.

Apostolos Giannou, right, recently joined Guangzhou R&F in the Chinese Super League.

LCF: How does Chinese football compare to Greek football?
AG: Both are played at a relatively slow tempo however the Greek game is more technical and tactical, teams in Greece tend to sit back and absorb pressure and then try to keep possession when attacking whereas Chinese teams like to counter attack, tend to rely heavily on foreign players and like to attack from wide areas with crosses into the box.
LCF: Having played for both Greece and Australia you can offer a unique insight into the preparation of different national teams how does being in camp with australia compare to being in camp with the Greek national team?
AG: There is a big difference from the little I have seen. everything is very well planed and structured with the socceroos and they place a larger focus on preparation, sports science and recovery with the Greek National team the atmosphere is a lot more relaxed, they prefer each player to an extent to manage their preparation individually.
LCF: Take us through a day on a camp with the Socceroos.
AG: Wake up at around 7am. From 7:30-8:30 the players all complete a wellness assessment which includes weight and hydration testing as well as a questionnaire. 9am breakfast and after that a couple of short media interviews and a quick photoshoot before some free time. Lunch at around 1pm and after that and some more time to relax before heading out for training at 5 and have dinner later.
Thats about it but between all that you could get treatment and we had access to a lot of amenities. In my free time I would spend it with the boys usually in a common room playing fifa or having a coffee. I was lucky that my family visited during the camp so I spent a lot of my free time with them as I don’t get to see them very often.
LCF: What do you like to do in your spare time?
AG: Play Playstation, walk my 2 dogs, spend time with my partner, go for coffees and trying new restaurants
LCF: Best players you have played with/against?
AG: Best player I have played with is probably Pablo garcia, Kostas Katsouranis and Pablo Contreras.
Best players I have played against, definitely Arda Turan and Huntelaar.
LCF: Best coach?
AG: Aad De Moss at Kavala. He had a great work ethic and very structured sessions that were always at high intensity and enjoyable, He was also very practical and great tactically.
LCF: What do you think are the 2 most important qualities a striker needs to possess to play at the highest level?
AG: To be aware of where the space is because up front you don’t get much time on the ball. you also have to be lethal and always need to think about scoring because you might only get a few chances in every game and need to convert.
LCF: What do you think about what we do at La Cantera Football?
AG: I think it’s great, when I was growing up I was lucky to have my dad around all the time to give me very good advice and feedback after my training sessions and games. He took me to the park nearly every day to train and have a kick with him but I know that not everyone has that luxury at home and a lot of parents are seeking experts to mentor their kids and oversee their development as footballers.
I have known the guys at La Cantera for a number of years and all the coaches have great knowledge or are former professionals who have played and know the game so I am certain that LCF players are in good hands.
La Cantera Football

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