The pair faced each other in a professional game for the first time ever at the Blues’ training ground with 17-year-old Christian named in our back four and midfielder Jacques – who also came up through our youth ranks – starting in midfield for the Championship outfit, having joined them from Sheffield Wednesday this summer.
Unfortunately for our young centre-half, it was 27-year-old Jacques who emerged victorious as we slumped to a 4-1 defeat against a strong Blues side, conceding three goals in a five-minute spell shortly after half-time having played some impressive football prior to the interval.
While one or two jokes were shared between the siblings – whose younger brother Paris plays for our Under-15s – before kick-off, Christian said Jacques was anything but boastful after the game and revealed they spoke constructively about each other’s performances following what was a very disappointing result for us.
“It was pretty weird to face Jacques but I’ve been expecting we might play against each other since the fixtures came out,” explained Christian.
“Jacques has recently signed for Birmingham and once I saw their name on our pre-season fixture list, I thought there would be a good chance that we’d meet each other on the pitch.
“There was a bit of banter beforehand – we just said ‘don’t put the ball through my legs’ and other things like that but you always know that when you step onto the pitch it’s serious business.
“As soon as we crossed the line there were no brothers, it was just a case of going at it with our teams. There were a couple of times during the match where I had to come up against him directly but you just have to forget about the fact that you’re brothers and be professional.
“It was very disappointing to lose the game in the end, but Jacques gave me some feedback afterwards when I called him. We talk a lot, we help each other out and obviously he told me about some things he feels I need to improve on ahead of the new season so it was useful to get his opinion.”
Jacques went close to opening the scoring in the first half, but it was a three-goal blitz shortly after half-time that saw Birmingham establish control of the game. Anton Walkes pulled one back for us, but Wes Thomas added a fourth for the Blues to compound our misery.
Christian, who stepped up to play regular Under-21s football at the end of last season after making 16 appearances for us in the Barclays Under-18 Premier League, agreed with the post-match sentiments of Coach Ugo Ehiogu in that we were made to pay for a sloppy start to the second period.
“It was a lack of concentration from us in the first few minutes after half-time that cost us,” he said. “The first half was good and even after we conceded the three goals there were times where we did alright, but we got punished for that five-minute spell in the end. When you’re playing against top-level players they make you pay for those errors straight away.”
Picture courtesy of Roy Smiljanic/Birmingham City FC.