Florent Hadergjonaj Relishing The Premier League Challenge With Huddersfield
As a Muslim, Huddersfield Town defender Florent Hadergjonaj will not be celebrating Christmas – but he is confident the champagne corks will be popping at the John Smith’s Stadium next May.
The Swiss defender’s religion ensures he treats the yuletide period like any other day and he is focused on football rather than festivities.
Hadergjonaj’s parents are staying with him during a hectic period of four games in 10 days – but they will not be pulling any crackers either.
David Wagner’s men travel to Southampton on Saturday and the 23-year-old right-back said: “I’m a Muslim and I don’t celebrate Christmas, but my parents fly over this weekend and my mum can cook for me!
“Normally I’m on holiday with my family at this time of year, so this is the first time I’ve had such a busy time football-wise.
“It’s a new challenge and I’m happy to have these four games because it’s a big chance for me.
“For me David Wagner is an important person at this club. I spoke to him before I came here and he told me about his interests and what he thought of me.
“He’s German and that’s good for me. He’s important not only for me but all the players and the whole club.”
Hadergjonaj has impressed since signing on a season-long loan from Ingolstadt, a side relegated from the German Bundesliga last season, towards the end of August.
He added: “Of course at the beginning I already knew the team had played three games and were doing very well.
“The transfer was very late and I knew that but the team-mates helped me to adapt very quickly.
“Now I’m very happy that I adapted so fast, even though at the beginning it was not so easy.
“I’m still young and this is the first time I’ve been in the UK alone.
“Being in the Premier League is a big thing, not only for me but the whole town.
“It’s a dream and we all enjoy playing in the Premier League. We’re doing very well.
“At the beginning we were newly promoted but let’s see what happens now.”
Hadergjonaj has one cap for Switzerland and is hoping to make their World Cup squad next summer.
He impressed during last week’s thumping 4-1 win at Watford, a result which lifted the Terriers six points clear of the relegation zone and strengthened the belief they can stay up.
Hadergjonaj added: “It was a very important win and now we go to Southampton ready to fight for more points.
“The support we have is amazing. If we play away, the amount of fans is unbelievable.
“If we win, not only do the squad win but the fans win too. You saw that at Watford when we celebrated.”
Wagner, meanwhile, warned none of his squad will be leaving next month as he weighs up potential new arrivals.
The German said: “There will be no outgoings without my permission. This is guaranteed.”
Jonathan Hogg serves a one-match ban at Southampton after being sent off at Watford and Elias Kachunga is out for up to 12 weeks with a knee injury.