Media Day with Aaron Long
February 27, 2020
MetroFanatic: Aaron, can you talk about Kemar's departure?
Aaron Long: We love Kemar, right. We love Kemar as a club, we love Kemar as a person, as a player, we think he is unbelievable, but it was time for him to move on. Those shoes have to be filled now, and we're looking for someone to step up in that role. But luckily, we have a lot of good, young, exciting players in the locker room and we think that role will be filled.
MF: The way you play as a defense, you and Tim often find yourselves upfield.
MF: Kemar would play safety...
AL: Well, he is just so fast! He can just catch anyone. I don't know if he was playing safety, or if he is just fast enough to look like a safety.
MF: Right, but it's not likely that the replacements are up to Kemar's speed. So does the team need to change how it plays?
AL: No, I think this team prides itself on the system being the star, and that's first and foremost. Every guy can bring their own abilities, but in that system... I think we're gonna strive if we make the system the star and we function well as a unit.
MF: I think a huge difference between 2018 and 2019 was your cohesion as a defensive unit. In 18, you were all on the same page, it was fantastic to watch.
AL: Yeah, there were a couple of injuries in there, mixed lineups, there were national team duties for either Amir, or myself, or Kemar. In 2018, the back four played together a lot more, there were a lot less changes in that lineup. This year, we're just looking to have a good start.
MF: There will be national team stuff for you too...
AL: Yeah, there will be, but I think we have more cover in positions that we did in the past. I think we have a lot more depth at these positions.
MF: I have to ask about England, the rumors that you might go to various clubs... How does it feel to be wanted?
AL: Good, but... I have no control over that stuff. I see what you guys see, I kinda stay out of it. That's two clubs coming to an agreement, that's out of my hands.
MF: You don't seem to pout.
AL: No, I can only control what I can control, and I'm here, and I'm super happy to be here. We're all crazy excited about this season. There is no point on dwelling on anything that's a hypothetical, right?
MF: When you signed your new deal, where there thoughts about eventually going to Europe?
AL: No. When I signed the deal, I was focused on the season, I was focused on this club.
MF: Talk about your partnership with Tim.
AL: I love the guy.
MF: Does he love you back?
AL: He does! Most of the time. (laughs) There's probably not enough good things I can say about Tim, as a person, as a player. Our chemistry together on and off the field is great. He's amazing.
MF: In 2018, when Tim was acquired, that really made you better as a defense.
AL: That leveled us up, that's for sure.
MF: And now, with Kemar gone, my hope is that you guys can regain that cohesion.
AL: Guys are gonna have to step up... but they will.