The 26-year-old Frenchman started his career at RC Lens before moving to Wales to join the Cardiff City academy. Yannis Drais played for Cardiff up until u23 level before moving back to France to join JA Drancy.
Yannis then moved to the East of France to play with Besançon Football. Yannis impressed a number of scouts and chose to move to England to play at his current team, Aldershot Town. Drais discusses the move to Wales, how his time in France went, how big the transition was from France to England, his time at The Shots so far and some interesting hobbies too.
Let’s go back to the beginning, where did football start for you?
“I was playing in France because that was where I was born. I played for my local team up until the age of 12.
“I played for a really good local team because we were playing at the best level that we could play.”
You started your career at RC Lens before moving to Wales. Talk to me about how the transition went?
“I was at Lens for about six months. I was meant to renew my deal at Lens but I didn’t take it because we had an international tournament in North France.
“There were a few Cardiff City scouts there and they asked if I wanted to come to Wales for a big trial. My Dad wanted me to go so I just went there and I played really well.
“They then asked me if I wanted to come for a week to train with the team and everything in the summer. Three to four days later, they kept saying they really liked me so they wanted to sign me and that’s when it all started.
“The transition for me was alright. I didn’t really learn English that much back at school. In France, I wasn’t the best. I wasn’t a fan of learning English that much. The first six months were hard but after that, I picked up the language quickly and got on fine.
“At the start, there was a big language barrier. I couldn’t talk to the players. You don’t know what they’re saying about you but I eventually picked up the language.”
You played for Cardiff City up until u23 level. Did you think you’d be involved in the first-team set-up?
“Yeah definitely! When the first managers were there, they really liked me. I think in football it’s a big part of it if the manager likes you or not.
“I did genuinely believe that I could make it into the first team and breakthrough. I wanted to get a few games and go from there but football is football so it doesn’t always go to plan.
“You just have to work hard, keep going and hope that some luck comes your way because of it.”
You then tried your luck with JA Drancy before moving to Besançon Football. Was that the team you really started to make a name for yourself.
“I didn’t play that many games at JA Drancy because the manager wasn’t on the same wavelength as me in terms of playing style. The football there was really direct and they were one of those tough teams to break down so you’d do a lot of defending and wait for the counter.
“It was similar to the National League in a way but in the National League, you get some teams that actually get the ball down and try to play a little bit more.
“The higher leagues in France are a lot different but when you go to the lower leagues, it’s similar in a way.
“At Besançon, I started to get more games and I was getting my confidence back. It was a great platform to use and go further. I was getting more minutes, statistics to my name and people started to take more notice of me on the field.”
You received a few offers when you were with Besançon Football. What made you choose Aldershot Town out of the teams who were interested in you?
“I’ve always wanted to come back to England. That was my main goal. I’ve played in English leagues before as I was with Cardiff City but I’ve never settled down in England myself so I’ve always wanted to try it out.
“I feel good in England. The style of play is so much better and I just feel at home here. I’m really tight with people here and I just fit in better to English football than I did with the other leagues that I played in.
“My agent has been really good with the gaffer (Danny Searle) and that made the move even easier for me.”
How well do you think you’ve settled here at Aldershot Town so far?
“I think I’m doing alright. I needed to play more games and what’s happening now is not very great for me and everyone involved at the football club but I think I’m doing well and working hard in training to get back to the form that I know I’m capable of.
“I haven’t played that many games yet but you have to adapt and do things differently than what I enjoy doing but that’s just football. You have to do both sides of the game but I think that’s been going well for me.
“The squad is very enjoyable to be around. We’ve got a really good bunch and the staff have been so nice and welcoming since I’ve put my feet through the door.”
Are there any hobbies outside of Aldershot Town that fans won’t know you get up to?
“I’ve got a few of them. I like to go out and watch movies. I love to go bowling and play some golf as well.
“I see myself as a very outgoing person but I do like to have some rest and chill as well. I like to balance both sides really. I do like to keep busy sometimes just to exercise the mind when I haven’t got much to do.
“I’m really into my music at the moment. I just love listening to music and chilling with my main boys quite a lot.”