Footballers find different ways to spend the large amount of free time at work. Allan Saint-Maximin is a Twitter personality. Gareth Bale enjoys playing golf. Ryan Bertrand from Leicester? “I just finished the Harvard Alternative Investments course,” he says Air sports.
Bertrand is far from the only Premier League player to be a college student as well as a student of the game. However, few of them have started – and sold – their own ‘fintech’ (financial technology) business. ), nor traded investments since he was 18 years old.
The England international has plans for a life in business after football, but his analytical brain is already playing a role in everything he does, from developing those early business ventures to deciding where to go next after leaving. Southampton in June.
Now 32 years old, Bertrand does not want to fall into the trap in which some ex-professionals find themselves after retiring without a plan for the future. The Harvard course adds to a long line of business-oriented work alongside his professional career. In addition to selling this fintech company, he also developed an emoji business alongside former Chelsea teammate John Terry.
“Sport is my passion, it will never leave me, but finance is another,” he explains. “As you build the foundation for the post-career, you have to relearn, retrain, help yourself become an expert at something different. It’s those horror stories that kept me going. ‘forward, I’ I always think about the future. “
His painstaking thought process has taken him to the East Midlands and Leicester, one step closer to the Champions League days of his young years at groundbreaking club Chelsea, and whether he keeps his spot for the game. Sunday with Crystal Palace, live Sky Sports Premier League, it will be his fourth league start since joining the FA Cup winners last season.
We’re all used to hearing how ambitious a club is and how wonderful the fans at this particular stadium are when new players explain their decision to join. Why Bertrand chose Leicester from his roster of summer contenders are common ground, but you can hear the fruits of his own research shining through when he explains his reasoning.
He said: “It was the right time for me to come to a club like Leicester, with the vision of where he wants to go, and what he wants to do and achieve. The club’s ethics surrounding l ‘team, it’s a club bond, I think the fans and ownership are very aligned with each other which is always great when you have that.
“When you have a few offers you measure where you are at. I’m always ambitious, I want to be the best I can be, I strive to be one of the best in the league and the club want that too. are met on this aspect and then you sit down and watch this – some clubs may talk about a good game, but who executes that vision?
“The club is aligned with my philosophy of football; high intensity attacking play, which is perfect for me. To come here and do it, compete at the highest level and show what I can do, I needed to ‘a platform to do it.
“The owners here are second to none, and there is a feel-good factor around the fans. Being in the game, you can see it and feel it, you can see the connection when you play against them as an opposing player and this usually means that the ownership structure in place is good too. ”
It doesn’t take an analytical brain to figure out what attracted him to the club. At 24, Bertrand had the medals of the winners of the Champions League, the FA Cup and the Europa League.
In the eight years since there have been a few near-misses with Southampton, but given Leicester’s FA Cup victory last season – after beating a limp Southampton in the semi-finals – and with time that begins to lack, the allure of silverware is clear to draw.
“My first competitive game, we won the Community Shield, which is another tick in the box and cemented the whole philosophy that I adhered to,” he says. “They don’t just come in big games, they come to win them.”
Bertrand’s in-depth analysis extends to a lot, but his reasoning for speaking out so clearly behind the No Room For Racism campaign last year was very sincere and opened up raw memories of shameful abuse that he had received not only during his professional career. , but also in the streets of London at the age of seven.
No one has knelt more proudly than the Defender, who has seen some of his colleagues on the other side of the national pyramid be disillusioned with the impact it has had over a year since he became trite – which he does not agree with at all.
“First and foremost, it’s always an important message, there’s no question about it,” he said. “There’s no flag saying it’s enough. It’s not enough. It’s enough when it’s stopped. I also think there must be a question, what’s next. stage ?
“That doesn’t mean the knee has to stop, it has to be there, because it irritates the racists and this champion of inequality for some reason. It’s great, because we are forcing the message, but also by as a group, with the Premier League leaders, we have to sit down with the people and think like a movement where it goes next, when is it seen as progress.
“Things like after the Euro final show why we are doing this. Unfortunately, it will always be there. We cannot control the world, but we can control our sport, our game. With social media sites, the powers that be, we can do that. “
Back on the pitch, Leicester’s wobbly start left them 13th in the table after six games, just one point ahead of Sunday’s opponents Crystal Palace and already five behind their tally at the same stadium last season.
Injuries, especially the absence of Jonny Evans, have been blamed for much of the start of the Foxes’ stuttering, which Bertrand says will be just an accident with team confidence still high.
“It’s still relatively early in the season, but we have to put the movement, the fluidity in attack,” he said. “I think it’s not a bad start, but a slow start for our standards.
“One thing you can take is that we dominated in games, it’s about working on individual things. Against Burnley it didn’t help to concede the own goal and give us a tough start, but the confidence was there to keep going and going back; confidence isn’t the issue, it’s just a matter of getting into our flow.
His future may be far from football at the end of his playing career, but for now, helping Leicester return to the top is his main business interest – and no one in the Foxes’ locker room will be spending time thinking anymore how to make it a reality that Bertrand.