Padovani grasping the lingo – as well as English football

Romain Padovani celebrates his goal against Dagenham with Joe Devera. Picture: Joe Pepler
Romain Padovani celebrates his goal against Dagenham with Joe Devera. Picture: Joe Pepler

Romain Padovani is bidding to prove he has adjusted to the English game.

But he has also, commendably, grasped the language as he impressively settles into life on the south coast.

The Frenchman has made 14 appearances in his maiden season in the Football League after arriving from AS Monaco in the summer.

In recent months he slipped out of the first-team scene, but the arrival of new manager Richie Barker has provided Padovani with starts in the past two matches – and he is set to keep his place at Southend tomorrow.

Off the pitch, he is also growing more confident in his understanding of English.

Having been taken under the wing of Johnny Ertl, his language skills are developing all the time in these foreign climes.

It has been very much learning from his team-mates rather than teachers, but the 24-year-old believes he has settled in fine.

He said: ‘I’m not having lessons. I wanted to take some when I came but then I talk to my team-mates a lot.

‘I learned English a bit at school but not very much.

‘It was “Hello” and “How are you?” Now it’s better than that.

‘I think if I am here for a year I will speak it well.

‘I used to stay with players and practice my English.

‘It’s okay but I need to improve. It’s difficult to understand when people speak very quickly. Watching TV is very hard!

‘But I’m here for the football first and it’s also a good experience for me to learn English for the future.’

It finally appears to be coming together for a Padovani, who had become something of a forgotten man at Fratton Park.

Before his start against Dagenham & Redbridge, he had made just one appearance since October 8.

Even then that was in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy – his most recent league appearance had been on October 5 against Rochdale.

Still, he marked his comeback by netting the match-winner against the Daggers in that Boxing Day fixture, which was a first victory in 10 for the Blues.

Padovani originally impressed Guy Whittingham on trial towards the end of last year to win himself a two-year deal this summer.

Now he has been given the opportunity to build on a flurry of early-season appearances under the new man in charge.