Young hopes – David Pejičić (Udinese): at 15, he trains with members and plays with juniors, and with cadets he qualified for the European Championships
The Slovenian national team started the Euro 2024 qualifiers in the best possible way, beating both Kazakhstan and San Marino, and just two days after the Stožice showdown, the U-17 squad also created a lot of excitement in the land on the sunny side of the Alps. The squad of former national team player Miš Breček, assisted by Branko Ilić and Jasmin Handanović, has qualified for this year’s European Cadet Championship, which will take place in Hungary between May and June. It goes without saying that this is a great success for Slovenian football.
Experienced in playing with the elderly
David Pejičić is one of the players who secured Slovenia’s qualification for the European Under-17 Championship at the tournament in Norway. Brečko was the youngest of all those he took to Norway, but he played a very, very important role in the success. Well, he doesn’t mind playing with the elderly much anyway. In fact, he is used to it. In Italy, where he earns his living as a member of the first division team Udinese, he is already playing in the Primavera championship, which is mainly for juniors, at the age of 15.
When David Pejicic scored against Hellas Verona at the beginning of January, he became the first player of the 2007 age group to score in the Primavera competition.
But that’s not all. A little earlier, he also made his debut for Udinese at the age of 15! True, it was only a friendly match (the opponent was Slovenian top league side Tabor), but still. That he managed to do so at such a young age is incredible and – clearly – a crowning testament to the talent he possesses.
In Udine, where David Pejičić trains under the guidance of fellow Slovenian Jan Šturm, once a striker
and his teammate is two years older compatriot Bor Žunec, they are well aware that they have a very talented footballer in their ranks who stands out from his peers. That’s why he plays in the Primavera championship and trains regularly with the members.
That David Pejičić is living his dream is not far from the truth. But on the way to it, not everything has always been nice, easy, simple. “No, definitely not. It was not easy to go to Italy, after all I was only 14 years old. I was afraid of many things. New environment and new language, I wondered whether I would be up to the challenge or not. I admit, sometimes I cried at home when it was the hardest. I knew that the transfer to Udine might be the key to my success, but at the beginning it was really not easy,” is a reminder of the period about two years ago, when he left Gorizia to sign for Udinese, for
David Pejičić recalled for Planet Udinese.
It wouldn’t have happened without effort and hard work
Although the boy from Šempeter near Gorizia, who has given Slovenia many great football players, was surrounded by feelings that are logical and understandable, the fear was unnecessary. “When I arrived in Udine, I was really well received by everyone. Club people, teammates, coaches. Everyone helped me as much as they could. I quickly got used to my new surroundings, and then I picked up the language, and after that everything was easier,” explained David Pejičić.
The fact that he plays with seniors doesn’t bother or surprise him: “At first I trained with my peers, but I was quickly added to the 2003, 2004 and 2005 year groups, and occasionally I train with the members as well. I am not surprised that this is the case, because I am really trying and training hard. All in the hope of succeeding in what I set out to do, and that is to play professional football. Udinese offers me all the conditions to develop. I train and play with the seniors, I also train with the members. I’m really grateful to the club, but the fact is that without the effort and hard work, none of this would have happened.”
When he first joined the training sessions of a Serie A club, he was naturally shocked. “It’s really no small thing. I’m only 15 years old!” is David Pejičić, who is also lucky to have two compatriots among his team in Udine. “I was very well received in the national team, even though everyone was surprised that I was 2007. I would like to say a special thank you to Jaka Bijol and Sandi Lovrić, who are helping me a lot. I am really grateful to them,“, David Pejičić, the next talented Slovenian footballer to be featured in our regular column, sent a message to the national team players.
1. Where and when did you start training football?
I started coaching football at the age of five, my first club was ND Bilje, currently playing in the second Slovenian football league.
2. Who inspired you to take up football and who has influenced you the most in football?
I’ve always been fascinated by Zlatan Ibrahimović, who is my idol, but of course my parents have been a big influence. They have always believed in me and trusted me, and they have always done their best for me.
3. What do you like most about football?
Football is first and foremost fun for me. If you’re not happy when you see the ball, then it’s not for you. Football is about enjoying and having fun.
4. Your favourite football moment so far?
At club level, 45 minutes played in a friendly match for Udinese against Tabor from Sejana, and at national team level… Of course, qualification for the European Cadet Championships. The emotions associated with this success are difficult to describe. We all cried in the dressing room, from the players to the coaches. At this point, we are probably not even fully aware of what we have achieved. I think this is really no small thing for Slovenia. But at the same time, I believe that this is only the beginning. We will also go to the European Championships with a clear goal: to do our best. We will also target the World Championships. I am sure that all of us, from the players to the coaches, believe that it is possible and that we can do it.
5. Why do you think football is the best sport in the world?
For that magical moment when you’re on the pitch with the ball in your feet. There is no way to describe it. But that is why football is what it is.
6. Who are your football role models – local and foreign?
There is no doubt that among foreign footballers, my role model is, as I said before, the legendary Zlatan Ibrahimović. As far as Slovenians are concerned, it is Valter Birsa.
7. Who is your biggest and toughest competitor and why?
I never gave it much thought, nor did I compare myself with others. I would say I am my own biggest rival.
8. What do you think is the most important quality of a successful football player?
Talent without training is not real talent. Training alone without talent will also not bring success. So you need talent as well as iron will and hard work.
9. What is the hardest thing for you on the road to achieving your football dream?
There is a lot of sacrifice along the way. While – say – your friends go out to have fun and enjoy themselves, you have to stay in and go to bed early because you have two training sessions the next day. It’s also not easy when you’re abroad and you don’t see your parents or friends for a few weeks. But if you want to succeed, if you want to reach the goal you have set for yourself, some things simply have to be given up.
10. How do you deal with disappointment after defeats?
Defeats really bother me a lot. I always want to win, that’s why I always give my best on the pitch. But I find it really hard after defeats. Even after we lost to Croatia in the last qualifying round for the European Championship, I couldn’t feel happy at first, even though we qualified for the final tournament.
11. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I believe I will play football at a professional level.
12. Which of your teammates (current and past) are you sure will make it in football and why?
Definitely for Luka Topalović. Front midfielder, master of football. He enjoys being on the pitch and has huge potential. I would also like to highlight Zan Trivunčević, who is one of the best goalkeepers I have ever seen. He is a born winner and also technically proficient, even though he is a goalkeeper.
This text was automatically translated using AI.