CHRIS LOWE has found the transition from German football to the cut and thrust of the Championship surprisingly easy. With one notable exception.
“I have been most surprised by the referees,” admits the Huddersfield Town left-back. “In Germany, you get booked earlier for a foul (than in England) but if you scream at the referee then nothing happens. Here, the yellow card. I have had three stupid yellow cards (for dissent) already so I have to change. All were stupid from my side. Stupid.”
That Lowe has already served one suspension for five bookings suggests the 27-year-old does need to mend his ways and cut out the backchat. Otherwise, though, Lowe has been a revelation since moving from Kaiserslautern on a free transfer during the summer.
Left-back had been something of a problematic position for Town since the club returned to the second tier in 2012. Countless players had been brought in but, for whatever reason, none made sufficient impact. Then came Lowe, who despite being just a couple of months into his stay at the John Smith’s Stadium gives the impression he has been at the club for years.
“I have changed my game a little bit,” says the defender when asked about how he has adapted so quickly to life in England. “It is more physical here, more speed in the game and I have had to adapt to this.
“I needed the pre-season to get used to this, the first two or three games were difficult. But I feel to have adapted – and I like it very much here, even if I have never played at 12 o’clock before like we will against Sheffield Wednesday.”
Lowe’s impact, needless bookings apart, has justified Wagner’s decision to make the left- back a major target when planning for this season.
The pair had worked together before in Germany at Borussia Dortmund. Lowe arrived five years ago in a €200,000 deal from Chemnitzer as a first-team player but he had spells playing for Wagner’s second string side. A mutual admiration was born during that time together, as Lowe makes clear.
“I played for David in Germany and he has not changed at all,” he said. “The same guy, the same style of football and that was the biggest reason for me to come here.
“Playing under him was good. At Dortmund, I only played five or six games under him because I was in the first (team) squad. But the relationship between David and the club was very tight so the style was similar.”
Lowe’s arrival in Huddersfield came as part of a summer overhaul that saw a dozen new faces arrive, many from Wagner’s native Germany. The value of those additions can be seen in Town sitting atop the Championship and supporters dreaming of a possible tilt at promotion.
“After 11 games, 25 points is really good,” said Lowe. “Every club in the Championship now knows that we have a good squad and that it will be tough to play against Huddersfield Town.
“I hope we can keep that over the next weeks and months – and make our opponents’ life difficult.
“I don’t know if the Premier League is realistic. In Germany, we only play 34 games (in a season). We have 35 still to play here this season. That is a long way to go.
“But we all hope we can keep this going over the season. We can’t promise those results. Small details can decide games and we hope we can keep going.”
Lowe’s fiery on-field antics are in total contrast to his demeanour off the field. Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s eagerly-anticipated Yorkshire derby against the Owls, he is unfailingly polite and his English is excellent. Lowe is also clearly self-aware, hence why he does not hesitate to admit a change is necessary if he is to stop falling foul of the officials.
“Tackles happen in football,” said the full-back, who missed the derby win over Rotherham United courtesy of those five bookings in just nine appearances. “You can be a little bit too late and that happens.
“But I got three stupid yellow cards that were not needed, because it was me screaming at the referee. I try to speak in English to the referees. Maybe I should have used German!
“They were the ones at Newcastle, Leeds and Reading. It was a big surprise to me to get the first one so quickly. In Germany, it is very different. It takes longer.
“So I know I have to change. I spoke with the manager about the cards and promised I will not get another one like this. I hope I can do that and not get such stupid yellow cards.
“Football is passionate and my character is different to what it is off the pitch. I am like another person but I have to handle it better. I don’t help the team by getting booked and suspended. Five yellow cards in nine games means I have to handle things better.”