Aleksandar Dragovic says that Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy is like “a Duracell bunny” and has reflected on the differences in drinking culture between the Premier League and Bundesliga.
The Austria international spent a year on loan at the King Power Stadium from Bayer Leverkusen in the 2017-18 season and played alongside Vardy.
The defender has spoken fondly of his time in the Premier League, and in particular Vardy, and has also revealed his role in Liverpool star Mohamed Salah’s rise to prominence.
“Shortly before a cup game against Chelsea we flew to Stockholm for three days without the manager,” Dragovic told Goal and SPOX. “Everything was agreed with the club.
“Then we let it all hang out for three days. Once, we walked through town in costumes. Jamie hopped into stores in disguise and scared people!
“A day and a half after we returned, we played the game against Chelsea, which we only lost in extra time. Doing something like that is unthinkable in Germany.”
On Vardy, Dragovic revealed his respect for the striker’s energy, adding: “This man is like a Duracell bunny! He cannot sit still or be still. It was a pleasure to spend a year with him.”
Dragovic admits that he was unprepared for the differences in culture between the Bundesliga and the Premier League, saying: “In England, everything is much more relaxed than in Germany.
“That’s a huge difference. In Germany you are treated like a soldier as a footballer. To exaggerate a bit, you shouldn’t even laugh while you’re training.
“In Leicester, on the other hand, the final training session before a match was like the first day after the holiday. There was laughter, fooling around, that was pure fun. But as soon as the referee started the game, everyone gave 100 per cent.
“At Leicester, the club even said to us: ‘Go out and have a drink together’. We players were often in the pub. Of course, everyone pulled themselves together and didn’t drink so much that we couldn’t walk anymore. But a couple of beers weren’t a problem.
“At kick-off you have to give 100 per cent, the rest is relatively irrelevant. After my time in Germany it was a culture shock. I asked myself whether this is only the case in Leicester or everywhere in England!”
As for Salah, who he played alongside at Basel, Dragovic cheekily suggested he’d put him on the path to greatness, laughing: “I prepared him for it after all! We often practiced tackles together.
“He was always afraid that I would break his foot with my tackles. So I prepared him for the hard English way to play. You could see immediately that he can hurt anyone with his speed.
“At that time, however, he had big problems in terms of transforming his opportunities into goals. Thanks to his meticulous work, he has improved a lot in this regard. Mo is a great person and has his feet firmly on the ground.”