BALINT BIDS TO PARTY ON PITCH!

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Jack Miller

WHEN Balint Ba­jner was hauled off just 44 min­utes into a lack­lus­tre Ip­swich de­but by boss Mick McCarthy, he had no idea he was about to cat­a­pult him­self to cult-hero sta­tus in his na­tive Hun­gary.

When asked why he was taken off so early in the sea­son-open­ing clash with Ful­ham, the hith­erto un­known striker’s Nick­las Bendt­ner-style re­sponse of ‘so the fans could ap­plaud me’ pro­pelled him to a high level of fame in his home­land.

The 24-year-old made just four more ap­pear­ances – all off the bench – be­fore be­ing ex­iled to Notts County on loan in Jan­uary. But Hun­gary was not im­pressed.

De­manded

The phrase “no Ba­jner, no party!” was posted thou­sands of times on the Trac­tor Boys’ Face­book page as dis­grun­tled Hun­gar­i­ans de­manded his re­turn to the team. And Ba­jner con­firmed his sta­tus as English foot­ball’s most un­likely fan­favourite on his ar­rival at Meadow Lane.

With #NoBa­jn­erNoParty trend­ing world­wide on Twit­ter, his new em­ploy­ers had to take dras­tic ac­tion and blocked the whole of Hun­gary on Face­book, as Ba­jner posts went into over­drive.

But the sur­pris­ingly hum­ble 6ft 5in hit­man in­sists the in­ci­dent was a les­son learned, and is set on prov­ing that he is more Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic than Bendt­ner by bang­ing in goals aplenty for Notts.

“I can only smile when I hear about that,” he said. “It al­ways makes me laugh and even the other play­ers in the dress­ing room are say­ing it now.

“For me it’s a funny thing and noth­ing else. I don’t give any spe­cial thought to it or think I am bet­ter than any­one else be­cause of it.

“That is away from the pitch. If I get the job done on the pitch then I don’t re­ally mind whether they speak about me or not.

“Most peo­ple like the ‘No Ba­jner, no party’ thing but oth­ers do not. Some­times it is too much and I try to just con­cen­trate on the foot­ball.

“When I came off af­ter 44 min­utes for Ip­swich and said those things, it was not the best thing to do, and all this has come from that.

“So I’ve learned that I have to con­cen­trate on the foot­ball whether things are good or bad, and I want to let what I do on the pitch do the talk­ing now.”

The party is only just be­gin­ning for Ba­jner, who sent County’s so­cial me­dia hay­wire once again when he net­ted his first goal in a 1-0 victory at Ley­ton Ori­ent.

The ec­static Hungarian sprinted the length of the pitch to share the mo­ment with over 100 of his coun­try­men who had flown over es­pe­cially, as the Mag­pies ended a run of three straight de­feats.

Hav­ing learnt his trade from some of Europe’s hottest tal­ent at Borus­sia Dort­mund, Ba­jner clearly has some star-qual­ity about him.

And de­spite be­ing scarcely used by Jur­gen Klopp on his ar­rival in 2012, Ba­jner ad­mits the op­por­tu­nity to study the likes of Robert Le­wandowski and Mario Götze first-hand had a huge im­pact on his devel­op­ment.

He added: “It was a fan­tas­tic ex­pe­ri­ence to be at Dort­mund as a young player as they cared about me and my devel­op­ment there.

“Jur­gen Klopp worked with me a lot as well; he wanted to make me a bet­ter foot­baller and did spe­cial ex­er­cise and train­ing for me.

“It was a re­ally good group and there were a lot of play­ers I looked up to as a 21-year-old.

“When I made my de­but it felt fan­tas­tic to be out there with those play­ers; Götze, Le­wandowski, Marco Reus.

“I learnt a lot from them. They were great play­ers with great per­son­al­i­ties too, and I ac­tu­ally only got my chance when Le­wandowski got a red card, so I guess I owe him some thanks for that too!”

PIC­TURE: Me­dia Im­age/Ac­tion Images

OFF DAY: Balint Ba­jner’s dis­as­trous de­but for Ip­swich NOTTS LAND­ING: Ba­jner is mak­ing his mark at Notts County for the right rea­sons and aims to be more Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic, inset right, than Nick­las Bendt­ner, inset top

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