David Bates: Former Rangers defender relishing life in Germany with Hamburg

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David Bates 'out to prove his game' in Germany

He is known as the "Ginger Ramos" and has been compared to a brick wall by his club, Hamburg.

It is fair to say that Scottish defender David Bates has made a real impact since joining the storied German second-tier side from Rangers in August.

Since being replaced 53 minutes into a debut defeat, the 22-year-old has established himself as a favourite with the league leaders at the 57,000-capacity Volksparkstadion.

Its a long way from where his career started at Stark's Park, but Bates did not think twice when the chance arose to move to Germany.

"I really wanted to do it straight away," he told told BBC Scotland. "Big club, go abroad, get out my comfort zone. It was a chance to experience something different and get games under my belt.

"You always go to the stadium and it's full and the fans are very demanding, like back home. Everyone knows that Hamburg shouldn't be in the second league and the standards are very high."

Hamburg SV's English Twitter post

'It's a completely different game'

Having initially seen footage of Bates, Hamburg came to Scotland to watch the centre-back on several occasions before talks began for a player christened "Ginger Ramos" by his Ibrox team-mates.

After leaving Raith Rovers, Bates played 28 times for Rangers across the previous two seasons, scoring his only goal in a 1-0 victory over Kilmarnock at Ibrox last May.

He suspects his defensive qualities are what initially attracted the German club, but says "over here it's a completely different game, with a lot of technical players and more building it out from the back".

Bates is thoroughly enjoying his time abroad, and has started 13 of Hamburg's 20 league games this term as the side attempt to return to the Bundesliga at the first attempt.

He impressed sufficiently to earn his first Scotland caps in November.

But as well as embracing the different style of football, the Fifer is also settling into the lifestyle.

"I moved over with my girlfriend, so she's helped me a lot," he says. "The culture's not much different - I still do the same things I did in Scotland. It's obviously a different language, which is the main thing."

David Bates and Alex McLeish
Alex McLeish (right) played Bates alongside Aberdeen's Scott McKenna at the heart of the Scotland defence

'He has improved quickly' - analysis

German football writer Daniel Busch

Bates plays like a 'no-nonsense centre-back' and already has strong physical attributes. Having improved his passing so quickly, he will further improve and become a more rounded player.

His biggest challenge will be to keep continuing to improve and get game time. With Gideon Jung back from a long-term injury now, Bates may drop to the bench so he has to keep the intensity up.

The step to the Bundesliga after a possible promotion in the summer will also be a huge one. It remains to be seen how he handles this all.

The move abroad seems to have helped him to develop much quicker and in aspects of his game he would not have learned in Scotland. I think that Scotland have a decent prospect if they are patient.

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