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Ebbsfleet United defender Bryan van den Bogaert praises his new club's professional approach

Bryan van den Bogaert’s journey from Antwerp to Ebbsfleet via a hotel in Crawley isn’t exactly your regular non-league tale – and his refreshing honesty about the game is hardly orthodox, either.

The 24-year-old defender left his native Belgium last year to go on trial with Shrewsbury, Bolton and Crawley, earning himself a short-term deal with the League 2 club.

But the move turned out to be more Alan Partridge than Alan Shearer and van den Bogaert was soon on the move again, signing for another Sussex club, Whitehawk.

Bryan van den Bogaert wins this header against Margate's Lewis Taylor Picture: Andy Payton
Bryan van den Bogaert wins this header against Margate's Lewis Taylor Picture: Andy Payton

He made his debut against Ebbsfleet at Stonebridge Road in August, going on to play eight times for the Hawks before injury forced him back to mainland Europe.

Then came a call from Fleet boss Daryl McMahon, an invitation to train with the league leaders and subsequently another new deal.

So does van den Bogaert now feel ready to settle down?

"It depends what they offer me," he said. "It’s still about money. Football is for 10 years, maybe, so you have to make your money.

"I can be honest, I get great money here. In Crawley, it wasn’t the greatest. I had no place to stay so they put me in a hotel.

"Ebbsfleet pay for my food, I have a gym, I have a pool – everything I need.

"For this level, it’s very professional. We have one of the best teams in the league, we work hard, we’re full-time and many of the teams at this level aren’t.

"The lads are friendly and the gaffer is good with me so I like it here.

"The only thing is I don’t like training three times a week. We need to train more. I’ve already said that to the gaffer.

"In Belgium we’re used to training five or six times a week."

Read the full interview in the Gravesend Messenger.

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