Herdman assured Milan Borjan will 'reset' with confidence amid shake-up at Red Star Belgrade
Milan Borjan has reportedly joined Slovakian outfit Slovan Bratislava on loan out of Red Star Belgrade, with the 35-year-old Serbian-Canadian goalkeeper joining the 5-time consecutive Slovakian champions after seemingly falling out of favour at his longtime home club.
Borjan, who had one foot seemingly out the door at Red Star Belgrade during Dejan Stankovic's tenure at head coach in 2022, but then re-signed a new deal through 2026 midway through the year when new head coach and former assistant Milos Milojevic stepped up to replace Stankovic.
But, Red Star's new permanent manager Barak Bakhar has stepped into the squad and already shaken things up, telling media outlets that Borjan would no longer be the no. 1 goalkeeper at the club where he's made 275 appearances since the 2017-18 season.
A phone call is where Borjan seemingly found out he wouldn't be in the coach's plans for the upcoming season, putting a damper on his sixth league title celebrations.
Borjan has been a great soldier for the club & will go down as a legend but it's hard to argue with this descion.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) May 31, 2023
It's time to freshen up the squad for Europe. https://t.co/hlwzwJPk3r
"I met coach Bahar in Belgrade and we had a nice talk," Borjan reportedly said, as quoted by Sportski Journal via Okvir.net. "When I came to Paris, the new coach called me and told me that I was no longer the first goalkeeper and that he was not counting on me. By phone.
"Honestly, it's very difficult for me and I'm very hurt, because I didn't deserve to have the coach who has been at the club for two days call me and give me such information. I simply think that I should have been respected in a manner befitting someone who gave six years of his life to (Red Star Belgrade)."
He added: "Now my head is hot and I'm very hurt and sad. I don't want to say something out of place. Let my results and six years of titles, 'double crowns', sporting and superhuman efforts talk about me.Time is always the best indicator. In any case, I am a (Red Star) soldier, I have a contract until 2026. My heart beats for my Red Star and no one can take that away from me."
A loan to Slovan Bratislava should give Borjan playing time, and Canada manager John Herdman is confident that his own no. 1 'keeper will be able to quickly recover from this massive life move and get back to his match-saving best.
"No one can take your confidence – only you can do that," Herdman told OneSoccer, with a chuckle. "It's just another step on a hero's journey. Every hero goes through the highs and then there's a transitional moment where they get asked the question: Who are you, who are you really?
"Now he's got to reset and take a big step forward and become a hero at the next club he ends up. But the one place he knows there's an opportunity to still be Milan Borjan is here, with his brothers, with the staff. In our mind, he's a legend, but he's still got to earn that right here. And he knows that if there's any fragility, that will effect him here.
"He doesn't own that no. 1 jersey – he borrows it every time he comes into camp. When he comes in to camp, he earns it, every training. His mood, his positivity, the way he lifts guys, he does that every single camp.
"I don't think I've got to worry too much about his confidence. He had a little bit of a wobble there, but that's normal. His world was rocked."