17-year-old Strahinja Pavlovic is just one of Partizan youths added to the squad ahead of winter preps. We spoke to young centre-back in Zemunelo camp after first senior team training session in the new year.

Tell us about your early career.

– I started training as a 6-year-old at Savacium football school in Sabac. My first coach was Zoran Kokanovic who taught me a lot. We are still in touch and his advices mean a lot to me. I was also coached by Perica Djokic and Jovica Delic there, says Pavlovic.

When did you move to Partizan?

– I was spotted by Sladjan Scepovic and late Dusan Trbojevic when I played for West Serbia team. Soon, I was with Partizan at Friendship tournament and in Summer 2015 I officially arrived to the club.

In my first year, we won youth championship title and numerous tournaments around the region – in Macedonia, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Italy. Soon upon arrival I became good friends with my peers Bojan Balaz and Ivan Tejic and we still hang around together a lot. Balaz is also part of seniors winter preps and I hope Tejic will join us soon.

You settled in Belgrade and now you are part of Partizan first team.

– A lot of it is down to my coach Scepovic who taugh me a lot. I`m in my third year of Sports High School and it proved a right choice for me. I`m part-time now due to football duties.

Back in May, coached phoned me and told me I`m going to train with the senior from next day on.

I was over the moon! The next day I was sharing dressing room with the people I was ballboy to the day before or just watched them play on TV. I was so glad to be around them. Moreover, they took me on as if I was around for some time already. Soon after, I was part of Summer pre-season and now I`m with the squad for winter preps.

Working with senior squad is serious business but I adapted quickly. I can learn a lot from experienced players and it`s quite enjoyable when you train with those lads. I hope I`ll play some games along them soon.

You started as a forward now you play as a centre-back.

– When I was younger I played all over, from forward down to centre-back. I guess I can handle playing at various team positions as a result but I settled at the back and that suits me the best.

Your favourite players?

Currently, my favourite players are Chiellini and Ramos but I also like Matic a lot.

You cook your own food at home.

– I moved to Belgrade in my last primary school year and my roommate and flatmate is Ivan Tejic ever since. We do everything ourselves, from laundry to meals. Ivan is much better cook but I`m there to help. Sometimes we eat at the club restaurant though.

Ivan`s trademark dish? White meat with four cheese sauce, you have to taste it.

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