Melvyn Lorenzen still has some memories of his early years growing up in London, even if they are blurry now. The winger was born in England and spent his first five years in the capital before moving to Germany where he grew up and learned the game he loves.
Growing up in Germany, Lorenzen played for various youth academies before joining current 2. Bundesliga side Holstein Kiel as a 13-year-old. His promise at youth level was clear to see and after scoring seven goals for Kiel’s under-19s in the 2012/13 season, the winger secured a move to Werder Bremen.
It would not take long for his impressive form for the club’s B side in the fourth-tier to translate to a Bundesliga debut with the first team and by the end of 2013, he had played in the top-flight twice.
He would spend his four years at the club between the first and second team but he did score his first Bundesliga goal in the 2014/15 season. In 2017, the winger would leave Germany for the first time to join Dutch side ADO Den Haag. The move to Holland saw regular first team football for Lorenzen as he scored three times and provided three assists in a two year spell in the Hague.
At the start of this season he signed for Ukrainian top-flight side Karpaty Lviv but after four appearances his deal was cut short due to financial difficulties at the club.
The 25-year-old is also a full international, having made his debut for Uganda in 2016 being eligible through his Ugandan-born father.
I caught up for Melvyn to see what he remembers from England and to see what the future holds as he looks for his next club.
English Players Abroad: Do you have any memories of England growing up or do you visit much?
Melvyn Lorenzen: Yes but my memories are quite blurry. I remember the kindergarten I attended, visited our apartment in Kennington and a few other experiences. But we, my mum and I, left when I was turning 5. My father still lives in London.
EPA: Do you feel you would be a different type of player if you had stayed and learnt to play the game in England?
ML: Oh yes, for sure! I mean even though players have their own way of playing, everybody is still shaped by the area/country/culture they grew up in. Who knows if I even would have even played football, since no-one in my family does.
EPA: How do the Bundesliga and the Eredivisie compare? Are there any big differences?
ML: Yes, there are huge differences. In Germany, it’s really physical, tactical and it’s all about winning, no matter how. Not that Dutch teams don’t want to win but the league appreciates good football way more. The fans love to see nice tricks or clean combinations, when it goes hand in hand with winning of course. This comes from Johan Cruyff, whose influence in Dutch football is still huge. You can also see that the individual players in Holland are mostly very skillful and good with the ball. While for me in Germany the overall team spirit would stand out.
EPA: What was your stay in Ukraine like, did you enjoy living in the country?
ML: It was quite short, due to financial issues at the club. And before I even could get in my best shape, it was already clear that I would leave again in December. But apart from that I was surprised by the city Lviv. It really has some charm to it – old, historic architecture and a quite active, youthful population.
EPA: Finally what are your goals for the future? Would you like to play in England?
ML: My goal is to continuously get better as a player and I’m training hard to do so. I became a professional footballer in Germany and at my next stations I was able to integrate the best traits into my own game.
Furthermore I will and want to play in one of the major leagues again – Premier League, La Liga, Serie A or Bundesliga – but preferably the Premier League because I’m sure English football would suit me well.