After being released from Fulham FC at U16, Omar Richards came straight into Kinetic to train with our U18 scholars with that group including Joe Aribo, Wes Fonguck and Bradley Wilson. He came on tour with us to the Gothia Cup and on return to England went on trial with Reading before signing for them. Omar joined Bayern Munich from Reading 9 months ago!
First trophy – German Super Cup (18/08/21)
Club debut in DFB Pokal – Bremer SV 0 Bayern Munich 12 (25/08/21)
Bundesliga debut – Bayern Munich 7 Bochum 0 (18/09/21)
UEFA Champions League debut – Benfica 0 Bayern Munich 4 (20/10/21)
First Bundesliga start – Bayern Munich 4 Hoffenheim 0 (23/10/21)
Omar, when you came to Munich you really wanted to see the mountains. Have you managed to do that?
“Oh yeah! I was in Garmisch. The scenery there is so beautiful, so different from South London where I grew up. It seems almost surreal to me. I never thought that I would enjoy being out in nature so much. It’s something new that I’ve discovered about myself here. I also like Marienplatz very much and find the people in Munich very welcoming. Everyone is helpful. The city is so different from London. Everything is clean here, life is less stressful.”
It was important to you to learn German quickly. Why?
“I’m now a Munich resident and I want to integrate as well as possible. I have to learn German for that. For me it is also a question of respect for the country and the people here. It’s not enough for me to just understand the coach and the team. I also want to be able to manage when I’m alone in the city.”
You not only want to get to know the language, but also German culture and history. You recently visited the concentration camp in Dachau?
“I just want to know where I live, what I’m a part of now. Munich is full of history, including Dachau. We talked about it in German class. When I heard that you could visit the concentration camp, I really wanted to do it. To find out what happened there. To see it for yourself and get a feel for it. After that I had very mixed feelings, I had a lot of thoughts. I also asked myself: How can I feel so comfortable in a country where this happened? I had to think about that. What I like is how people in Germany deal with their own history. That people talk about the fact that you can visit such places and that you are aware of your own responsibility.”
You are a thoughtful guy. Julian Nagelsmann also appreciates your work ethic, your diligence. Where does your attitude come from?
“In my life nothing was given to me, I worked for everything. I used to be almost embarrassed on the pitch when I lost the ball. I always wanted to win him back as soon as possible. I always want to win too. I’ll do anything for that.”
And what do you do to relax?
“Privately I’m very different than on the pitch, relaxed and relatively uncomplicated, I would say. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, watching movies or playing console games. What I also like to do is bowling. I found a good place just around the corner from me. Sometimes I’m there with some guys from the team, Alphonso Davies or Jamal Musiala for example.”
Which one of you is Bavaria’s bowling champion?
“Alphonso Davies has a strong arm, but the accuracy…(grins). I’m a pretty decent bowler myself, I think.”
How did you grow up?
“My big brother is eleven years older than me. So I grew up mostly with my younger brother. We were always at the football field, like all the kids in the area. I learned something important there: to control the ball close to my foot. Because when you had the ball, everyone was chasing you. And alas, they caught you, then you were uncompromisingly separated from the ball. That could hurt really bad.”
How was it when you were in the cabin at the training facility for the first time?
“I discovered my name on the locker between Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sané . That was incredible. It took me a while to realize that they’re all normal people, no matter what they’re capable of on the pitch. Everyone welcomed me warmly. At the beginning there were also a few players on vacation. But at some point the team was complete for the first time. One superstar after the other came in – that’s when I finally realized: Wow, I’m really with Bayern Munich!”
Is there anyone on the team who took special care of you?
“Joshua Kimmich. From day one to today. He asks how I’m doing and gives me tips on what I can improve. I really appreciate it. Joshua is like a big brother to me. He understands that moving to a foreign country, going from a small team to one of the best clubs in Europe, isn’t that easy.”
Can you describe how you experience the difference between the second English division and FC Bayern on the pitch?
“The pace of the game is very different. Everything happens at the same time, if you blink once you’ve missed something. At Bayern everyone has to ride the same wave, the players work extremely well together as a team. And of course the quality of each and every player is exceptional. In training or in a game there are always moments when I think: Brilliant, that’s magic! Then I almost scream because I can hardly believe what my teammate just did. I really want to reach that level too. And to do that, I’m in the right place. I feel like I’m learning every day, I’m constantly adding new elements to my game just because I have that quality around me. I think I’m already a better player than last summer.”
Interview taken from FC Bayern Munich’s club magazine “51”