On United’s problems
In the main, when we're talking about Man United, I think the real problem is goes back to Rangnick coming in, another interim manager, it's just absurd for me. United had an interim manager in Michael Carrick, they let him go and appointed another, it just brings uncertainty to a group of footballers that should be playing at their highest level.
Rangnick’s obviously going to chop and change with who he likes and who he doesn't like. A footballer's mentality, if you are left out for three or four games is, "I really want to get back in the team," but when it's an interim manager you can wait till the end of the season and say, "Do you know what? He'll be gone before I go, so I'll wait till the next manager comes in." It's another season lost when you have that sort of vibe, you only need to chop and change and rotate the team a few times and you've got a lot of unhappy players.
I think the actual problem is coming from the top. There's no defined, "Right, here's our new manager, let's get on with it, let's deal with it and let's make a difference." It's a big problem for me.
Do you think because Rangnick is only there on a short-term basis, in some ways he's got a free pass? The players know that he's going to be gone at the end of the season, obviously he'll want to be as successful as he possibly can be, but if he's not what are the consequences?
Definitely. It's just a strange situation for how much of the season was left when they put him in charge. There was talk that he might go into an advisory role at the end of the season, so you'd like to think there's something in place for one of his pupils or someone that buys into his coaching philosophy to come in at the start of the next season under him, that he's building the foundations for the next man to come in.
If he leaves at the end of the season, and then someone completely different, like Pochettino, comes in, it's a whole new vibe of how you want to play football. This season's going to be lost. It will be wasted and you have to start again.
If the next manager brings in his own staff, his own players – it's just a whole new revolution again. It's such an absurd situation I see at Man United, and that's why you get uncertainty, that's why you get the differences of performances in the Man United team at the moment.
Do you think that players, I don't want to say 'down tools' because that's not right, but players will be thinking, "He's gone, I'll get my chance next year," does that attitude have a danger of spreading across the team?
I think it's the uncertainty. I know the talk is always about Pogba when we talk about Manchester United, but again, his contract ends at the end of the season, why would he sign another contract when he doesn't even know who the manager's going to be next year? The absurdity in it, I just can't believe what's going on up there.
Harry Kane said recently "United will regret not appointing Conte when he came on the market." What do you think about that, because you're right, it is just delaying things, isn't it, you're not moving forward by having an interim in there, you're just keeping the wheels turning.
Unless the United board have got something up their sleeve that is defined, with a manager coming in with the whole summer to go and do what he's got to do, then I'll understand, I'll hold my hands up and say, "Do you know what? It's a great plan, perfect." But at the moment, from the outside looking in, you just think, "What is going on? What does the next six months hold for Manchester United, where will they go?"
On Manchester United
United, they're the biggest club in the country. All right, they haven't won the title in 10 years or so, but they look further away from it now than they ever have. Do you think that is because there's a lack of leadership and does that create an environment where people can get away with things?
Yeah, it does. I mean, Ronaldo being in there, he couldn't have picked a worse season to come back to United. He’s obviously older, he needs help without taking him off and leaving him out and embarrassing him, as such, because he’s a top player, without a doubt. He’s one of the two top players over the last 10-12 years.
To take him off, leave him out, it takes a strong manager to be able to talk to him, to make him understand, “You’re not getting any younger.”
It’s not about the last 20 minutes of playing against Burnley, it’s about the next Champions League game, the next League game. You’ve got to be a big manager to be able to do that and make him understand that he is at that age and you’ve got to look after him. And Ole probably wasn’t at that stage, to be able to do that, Michael Carrick probably wasn’t, even though he’s tried to, but you don’t know whether he had that sort of respect from Ronaldo to be able to do that. He’s played under a lot of top managers.
Then Rangnick comes in, and who knows what he thinks of Rangnick. He comes in and you want a manager to love you, you want a manager to work with you, you want him to understand you, and when you’re a top player like that it’s not the ideal situation. Everyone’s pointing the finger at him, but it’s not the ideal situation for him at United.
Realistically, where do you think United could finish?
They’ve got to be aiming for fourth spot, but they are going to have doubts. There’s a lot of teams vying for that spot. If you’re going to get that fourth spot, everybody’s got to be pulling in the same direction, and at the moment I don't see that being the case at Manchester United.
There’s a lot of upheaval up there and I think there will be even more towards the end of the season. It’s a case where United will have to dig deep, and if Rangnick can get that togetherness then they’ve got a chance to get the fourth spot.
I don't see them winning the Champions League, not with their up and down performances, you’ve got to play to a certain level consistently, which I don't see Man United having at the moment, because you’ve got to be a top team to win the Champion League.
On Cristiano Ronaldo
You mentioned that this is a lost season for United. Playing careers are short, how do you think that makes a guy like Ronaldo feel?
He wants to get every ounce out of every game, out of every minute, out of every season that he plays. He’s shown that desire over the years, that he wants to play, he wants to perform. I think he’s trying to get that across to the players.
He said earlier in the season that the players don’t listen to him. Young players need to be guided, they need to be shown, they need to be told what it takes to be a top player. When the likes of all the youngsters coming through in my day, the Nevilles and Buttsies and the Giggsies, they were shown how to perform by the Pallisters and the Bruces and the Mark Hughes’, the Inces and a little bit earlier than that, Brian Robson.
They were shown how to perform, they were shown how to be top players, and if they weren’t they were pulled up and told, “Look, that’s not what we do here.” And Ronaldo’s tried to do that and I’m not sure whether the respect level in society and in football now goes to that level. I think they look at him as if to say, “Yeah, whatever, you ain’t doing it so why should I? It doesn’t look like you’re giving 100 percent, so why should I?”
That’s madness though, isn’t it, Teddy? Like when a guy like Ronaldo speaks you’ve got to listen?
Yeah, but it’s tough, you have to do it in a certain way, and the standards that were set by Sir Alex years ago, the players took that on and then they told other players that came in and showed other players when they came into the club, “This is how it’s done.”
Players were pulled aside at certain times and told, “No, we don't do that here.” It doesn’t seem like that’s the case at the moment. It seems like United have amassed a lot of good players, top players, but everyone seems to be doing what they want at the moment, there’s no leadership, there’s no togetherness, there’s no camaraderie to pull you through difficult times.
Louis Saha, I spoke to him a couple of weeks ago, and he said something similar, he said one of the big problems at United is that they don’t have a changing room like they had when he was playing, and also when you were playing, they don’t have a core of local boys that have been at the club for a while and understand the standards. Would you agree with that? Do you think that United need a few more local guys in there?
I’m a big advocate of that. Perhaps not in the last 6-8 years, but over the previous 20 years, you had a group of English players at the core of an dressing room, to show the players how it’s done. If you look at the best Man United, Arsenal and Chelsea teams, they’ve all had that British core.
Pep Guardiola has changed that. He’s led with his professionalism and his desire to take the game to a different level, with top players performing at the top of their ability, week in, week out. He demands that and that is a very British vibe.
I know that’s in his character anyway, and he’s taken it from Spain to Germany and then here in England. That approach is perfect for the English league because it is such a long season. It’s not like over in France, where you have to win a few games, you can lose a couple, but if you’re a top team you’re going to win the league. He demands, week in, week out, top performances from everyone in his squad, and that’s what’s needed to grind out results. That’s what it takes to become a winning team, that mentality.
On the subject of the dressing room, when you have a group where the harmony might not be as right as it should be, does that spill out onto the pitch? When you look at this United team, for example, and you can see some of the performances, as a former player could you say, “Oh, something ain’t right in the dressing room, there doesn’t look to be the camaraderie there, the connections aren’t there,”?
Yeah. I think you’re touching on things, the camaraderie within the dressing room. You don't have to be best mates, but you have to have a respect for each other about what you’re doing in your professional job; the respect and desire to take you and the team to the next level is what it’s all about.
If you haven’t got that then you’re going to fall by the wayside because there’s going to be another team coming up that have it and know what it takes to take your place.
On Next Managerial Appointment At United
You’re sat on the United board of directors, the big decision in the summer concerning the next managerial appointment, who would you like to see go in?
Well, if you could nick Pep Guardiola (laughs). He has, without a doubt, taken the game to a different level in England. I love his philosophy, I love how he talks about the game, I love his desire, I love the way he takes the game to the opposition.
It’s all about having the ball, a faultless joy of football, and he wins games not by closing teams down without a ball but making them work with a ball.
Manchester United have always been brought up on that, that vibe of taking the game to the opposition, it was always Fergie’s way, he never worried about the opposition, what they’ll do to us, it’s about what we can do to them. I think, if you look along those lines, I would say the perfect fit would be Pochettino, without a doubt.
I think when he was at Tottenham he wanted the ball, he wanted to play with the ball and hurt the opposition, and I think that the Manchester United crowd would love his philosophy in the way that he takes the game to the opposition.
Obviously, he didn’t win anything at Tottenham, but if you’ve got bigger and better players than what he had there who knows what he could achieve. He would be the man for me, he would be the number one choice.
He’s managing some big egos at the moment in Messi and Neymar, so you’d think he’d be able to have a handle on getting the best out of Ronaldo?
Yeah. That’s a great experience for him, working with world-class players at PSG. Everybody thinks it’ll be easy, but managing all those top players and egos, it’s a big thing.
When you were at United you won everything. United went out of the FA Cup last Friday to Boro, how disappointed were you to see that happen, and were you surprised?
Very surprised. You don’t get many chances to win the FA Cup. As a footballer, when you analyse it you might only get 10-12 chances in your career to win the FA Cup. Out of 12 years as a pro you might only be playing for a top team for six or seven years, out of those six or seven years you might have the team performing to the top level, with the right manager, for four or five years. You’ve got to hit the nail on the head.
You’ve got to play well and have a little bit of the rub of the green to get to an FA Cup final and win it. When you do get the chance, when you are playing for Man United, you’ve got to take that chance.
You would think, as the top team, you’d be in the FA Cup Final year in, year out, but again, it takes a lot to get there. You’ve got to be all pulling together, and if you don’t, you end up slipping up in games, like the match against Middlesbrough, and you find yourself out of the cup and it’s like, “Ah, maybe next year.”
You might have a few injuries next year and get knocked out in the third round by Chelsea or something, so it’s like, “Uh, maybe the year after.” The young lads coming through think, “Oh, we’ve got another 10 years of this, playing for Man United, we’ll win it next year or a couple of years.” It doesn’t happen like that, you have got to grab it.
That’s really interesting. ’99, that’s a golden season, I don’t know if it’s ever going to be done again, what you guys achieved, absolutely remarkable. When you were on that run towards the business end of the season, did you feel like everything was coming together, did you think you would be able to lift all three?
There wasn’t a lot talked about in those days. You had big games coming up, you had the Champions League games coming up, we had Arsenal in the semi-final of the FA Cup. It wasn’t talked about because it had never been done before, but it is talked about every year when we get to the business end of the season now.
If a club is still in all of its competitions the treble, the quadruple, they get mentioned and everyone gets excited, but before you know it you’re knocked out of everything and you may lose the League as well.
I think the time that I was at United the club had got used to winning things, they knew how to win the League, the FA Cup. They didn’t know how to win the Champions League but they were getting closer, they’d had big runs and it was a case of, “Can we go one step further?”
Fergie was pushing to win that elusive trophy, and it was a case of, “Can we do it?” and for us it just all seemed to come together.
When we did so well in the semi-final of the Champions League and then beating Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final, where Giggsie scored that wonder goal at Villa Park, all of a sudden you start thinking, “Oh my god, hold on, we’ve got a chance here, we’re close now, we’re going into the middle of April with maybe a month left of the season, we’ve got a real chance of doing this.”
It still wasn’t talked about in the dressing room. Everything was one game at a time, “Let’s see where it takes us.”
If anyone got a bit over-excited in the dressing room, were players like Keane going, “Come on, one at a time, boys,”?
I think actually, the manager was always like that, very straight-laced, very Scottish. He’d say, “What you getting excited for?” We had a captain that was very serious at that time, he didn’t have to say it, he might just look at you. Someone in the team could mentioned it after they’d scored a goal or when we we’re winning in the League, “Oh, the treble,”.
Don’t even say it. “What you talking about it for?” You’d get a slap. It was just a vibe around the place that was like, “What you getting excited for? You ain’t done anything, you won one, what you talking about three for?
We’ve still got a month of the season, things can go very pear shaped.” I think it was great that we had that, we had those people leading us that kept our feet on the ground.
On Old Trafford
Old Trafford, when you played there, you’d rarely see a team from a lower division coming and taking anything off United, even the lower teams in the League. How can United turn Old Trafford into an intimidating destination again and get that fear factor there?
That doesn’t come easy. It’s not a switch, you can’t just press a button. We’ve all seen Liverpool in the 80s, and then it changed in the 90s, they were all talking about it, “Let’s get that switch back.” It’s taken a long time to get back, for someone to come along in Jurgen Klopp, with the right credentials and desire and beliefs and the understanding of what it take to run a football club and to get the ship on the right path.
I don’t see that happening at the moment. I’d love to see it happening but I don’t see it happening at the moment, because, from the top, without even getting to the changing rooms, United is being led the wrong way and I don’t see that fortress being built this season.
On Social Media
I’d like to get your point of view on this, Ralf has said a couple of things in press conferences that have then been contradicted by some of his players on social media. The most recent one was where he mentioned that Lingard wasn’t ready to play against Boro on Friday night, and then Lingard came out on his Twitter and said, “I was fine.” What are your thoughts on players using these platforms to air their grievances or communicate with people, and does it make the job even more difficult?
It does make the job even more difficult. If that’s your Twitter feed and you’re associated with those remarks, Fergie would have the fine book out and said, “If they’re your remarks on Twitter, week’s wages, two week’s wages.
You won’t be doing that again, son, will you? If you’ve got something to say we’ll have it out here.” I know Rangnick said, “If you’ve got something to say, say it to me.” OK, what’s that done? Has anyone taken any notice of that? Are they taking any? I think it’s happened a couple of times. They still do it. If you get a week’s fine, two week fine, you ain’t doing it again, are you, simple.
Do you think that highlights a lot of the problems that are going on at United, the fact that these stories are coming out, and if there was, to your point, a de facto leader in there, a manager that the players knew was going to be there for the next three or four seasons, or maybe some stronger characters in the dressing room, this sort of thing wouldn’t happen?
Yeah, without a doubt. I think it’s all going on there at the moment. As I say, the leadership from up top, an interim manager, has he got respect in there? I don’t know whether you can command that respect from players that have got four or five year contracts and say, “Say what you want, I’ll be here longer than you, I’ll sort it out next season.”
You shouldn’t be thinking like that as a footballer, but just somewhere in the back of the mind it does. I just think the indecisiveness of it all just leads to unprofessionalism and there is no leadership from anywhere at the moment.
No one knows where the club’s going, do they? It’s all a temporary basis. At least if a manager’s in charge and he ain’t the best you know he’s there for three years until further notice, you know, you’re getting some sort of defined messaging, but at the moment I don’t know what it is going on there.
Just touch on Ronaldo again quickly, he’s spoken to some of the players and has said that they might not be responding to his comments in the best possible way. Do you think that some players could be intimidated by him?
I suppose, there could be that, they could be intimidated by him, but that’s down to him; he needs to behave in a way that he thinks will get the best out of the players.
At every stage of your career when you’re a top player, you’ve got to look at yourself and lead by example, inspire the other players. Not just on the pitch and in the dressing room, but off the pitch as well; when the team go out for dinner, everything.
You’ve got to show leadership qualities but have a bit of compassion about you as well. It’s a strange situation. When you’re on your way up to becoming a leading player, you’re focused and your desire is to get to the top, but you have to realise how other players see you.
hese players will be trying to reach those levels and you to have to understand that everyone will not be as good as you, everyone might not be as focused as you and everyone might not have the same desire.
Some players might have problems at home and, as the leader, you might have to get involved in that to understand the players. There’s just so much that goes on in a football club on a day-to-day basis.
If you were the Sporting Director at United and you could sign one player in the summer, money no object, who would you be looking at?
It’s about the manager. It’s not about one player, they’ve got good players there. You need a top manager in to get this ship back on the right path, that’s the main thing for me. One player ain’t going to do it, they’ve got top players there, one player, one top player coming in there ain’t going to make a bit of difference.
You need leadership from the top to focus everybody underneath you, and then you might have a chance. Get the right manager and you never know where it’s going to take you. If they come again, if they get it wrong again, they’re going to be in this position for another three or four years.
On Antonio Conte
Conte, he’s gone in to Tottenham and I think it would be fair to say he’s made a pretty good start and he’s a top, top manager. What’s impressed you about him so far?
He’s obviously developed a change of mindset in the Tottenham players; they seem to have a different type of focus with the way they’re approaching games. I like the fact that he’s stayed pretty quiet about things, he’s not been shouting his mouth off in the press.
I know he’s very passionate on the sidelines; he looks hyper, but I don’t think he’s like that off the pitch. I don’t know him, I’ve never met him. I think he looks like he’s going to be quite calm off the pitch, and you need that calm, mature leadership.
He’s got a confidence about him that says, “I know what I’m doing, if you listen to me we’ll be all right and we’ve got a chance if you’re all in the same boat together.”
He was given a tough job in coming in and sorting Harry Kane out, and I think we’re seeing a boost in Harry’s performances as result, especially of late. He needed to get Harry on side. He could have quite easily come in and upset the number one striker in the country and lost him forever.
It was a big job for him. Harry’s obviously had his head turned in the summer. As a player, when a move breaks down, you can become disinterested in what you’re doing, and maybe that did happen. I don't know, from the outside, I’m only surmising. He’s had a big job going in there and he’s steadied the ship. The way I see it, he’s turned it round and it’s going in the right direction.
On Harry Kane
I read a comment from him this week where he’s saying that it’s his job to make Kane even better than he is and improve Kane as a football player. I also read that Kane’s been singing his praises as well. Given what happened in the summer, do you think Harry might be persuaded to stay?
Top footballers want to play with top footballers, they don’t want to play mediocre footballers. If you’re a top player you want to play at the best level. You could compare it to when I was at Tottenham. I wanted the best players to come and play with me at Tottenham.
It was quite obvious that wasn’t going to happen, so I had to leave to go and play with top footballers. Harry’s probably been in the same boat. He thought that he was never going to win anything at Tottenham.
I know he came close in the Champions League, but I think he felt, as he looked around the dressing room, “I’m not going to win anything, I’m not going to be performing at top level consistently at this club, so I’m going to leave. I want to go and play with the top players,” and I think he felt that wasn’t going to happen at Spurs.
If that can change, if he can see players coming into the club, players like these two Juventus boys, if they perform and become top players in the Premier League, that will change Harry Kane’s mind, without a doubt, and he will say, “I love it here in London, this is my home.
Life is rosy, I’m enjoying my football, my family life’s great, I don't have to be travelling up and down the country, I don’t want to be travelling unnecessarily. My life’s back on the right route, my professional career is back on the right route, so I’m quite happy here.”
I see that change in his mindset from five or six months ago where he wanted to leave. That’s what I’m seeing from the outside, I don’t know that but that’s the vibe I was getting, I think that is changing in the fact that, “Maybe I don't have to move, maybe things are looking a little bit rosier where I am.”
On Daniel Levy
I think in some ways you’ve got to credit Daniel Levy. I mean, he got it wrong with the Nuno appointment, but credit to Tottenham for going out there and showing the ambition to get a guy like Conte, because if a guy like that walks in a dressing room, someone who’s won so many things in Italy and England, all of a sudden does the vibe just change like that? “Hang on a minute, this guy’s a proper manager,” maybe the mindset does change and Tottenham, you know, the players in that dressing room are thinking, “Well he wouldn’t have come here unless he’s coming in to win.”
First and foremost, I don’t think you can ever accuse Daniel Levy of not trying to make the football club better. To sack Pochettino when everybody’s thinking, “I know they had a three or four month spell where it wasn’t great under Pochettino,” it might have looked a little bit stale, but he made the decision, he sacked a manager that’s taken them to the Champions League Final, that’s a big move.
Then he’s got Mourinho in, a proven winner on top money and said, “Take this club to a better level.” Levy’s trying to do that. OK, it didn’t happen with Mourinho. Nuno, an up and coming coach with great results at Wolves, perhaps not the high profile manager that some people wanted, but he’s made a decision, bang, next one in.
He quickly sees it isn’t working, bang, next man in. He asks himself, “Whois the best manager that we can appoint at this club now”? Bang, Conte. He has tried everything to make Tottenham better, and you’ve got to take your hat off to that.
Conte coming in and in performing the way he has done, in the manner that he has done, I said at the time, I think he was the perfect fit for Tottenham. He comes in with his desire and his discipline.
He’s disciplined first and foremost. He has got those players understanding what it is to be a professional footballer, to perform at the highest level. For all the Tottenham supporters watching week in, week out, they will respect the players on the pitch.
That’s what fans want to see on Saturday afternoon. They want to see players dying with passion, making a difference and that’s what he demands from his players.
What do you think they can do this year? Top four? FA Cup?
Top four is essential if Tottenham want to go to the next level. You’ve got Man United, West Ham, who I’m not going to rule out, Man United, West Tottenham, Arsenal. Wolves might even be in the mix. I don’t see anyone else challenging for that fourth position.
All of those clubs want that fourth position because the Champions League is massive. The money is massive. If he could deliver that an a FA Cup, wow, what a start to his regime as a Tottenham manager.
If I’m honest, if Tottenham missed out on Champions League football and won the FA Cup, they would be absolutely delighted. They need the cup more than the money to go to the next level, to get the right vibes from everyone at Tottenham. They need to win a trophy. I’ve been saying it for years. That is more important than the money from the Champions League to Tottenham right now.
Obviously they’ve brought in a couple of new players in the Juventus guys, Kulusevski and Bentancur. I don’t know if you know much about them?
The fact that Conte has got results in his last five or six years as a manager, and he knows these players from Italy, I would be very optimistic that they are going to come in and be good players, without a doubt.
They’re not players that roll off your tongue, but if Conte likes them, and he gets results with them, that’ll do for me. They’ll go out there and perform. I’m looking forward to seeing them play.
On Dele Alli
Dele Alli, he’s obviously moved on to Everton in the January window What do you think happened to his Tottenham career, why do you think it stalled a little bit?
Sometimes it happens with footballers, they enjoy the other side of the game. For whatever reasons, sometimes you fall out of love with the game, whether it be earning too much money or the manager that you’re playing under doesn’t give you a chance.
don't think Dele Alli can accuse any manager of not giving him chances, because he’s had four managers now that he hasn’t performed under. He’s got to take a long, hard look at himself and be very honest and say, “This is all about me.” He’s lucky that he is still a young man and that he can turn this around. I think it’s a big thing for him.
I think leaving was the right thing for him, but just joining a new club and playing under a new manager doesn’t mean anything. He’s got to get that desire back where he wants to play at the top level.
I wish him well. I like him as a player, I like his manner, I like his demeanour, the way he carries himself when he is playing well, but he needs to get that desire back that can give him that presence on the pitch, because he’s lost it. Its been three years now since he’s been performing at the top level. It’s a long way back for him, but I hope he does get back.
On West Ham
How impressed have you been by West Ham this season?
So impressed. Not only last season when everybody kept saying, “They’re not going to last, they’ll drop soon, they’ll finish 10th, 12th, as West Ham do.” I think they’ve been absolutely outstanding.
This is what I’m talking about when a manager’s in charge and he’s got the team focussed. He’s got the right leaders around the football club and on the pitch in Mark Nobel and Declan Rice. He’s got West Ham people in his staff; guys with the right attitude like Kevin Nolan and Stuart Pearce.
I think it all looks great for West Ham at the moment. Players, like Lanzini, talking about their leader, Mark Noble, and how much he means to the football club, that’s the sort of thing that you want to hear. Noble hasn’t played many minutes this season, but I heard Lanzini talking two or three weeks ago about what he means to the football club, how he leads by example, how he tells the players what to do and what it means to the supporters.
It’s filtering through the club. From Moyes to his staff, to his captain, to his captain on the pitch, it’s great news, and they’re all performing at the top level, and that’s how you get that sort of vibe.
Do you think they could go all the way in the Europa League?
I do, yeah. I’d love to see West Ham have a massive cup run like that, it would be unbelievable. You’ve got to look at where clubs are at the moment, when Manchester United have been in the Europa League it’s like, “Yeah, they’ll win that. Well done.
They’re not in the Champions League,” If West Ham go on to win the Europa League, wow, what an achievement that would be, that would be so exciting for everyone at the football club to get a trophy like that. Amazing.
I know the January window is a hard window and not many teams strengthened, but do you think there’s a danger that they might regret not bringing in a forward or strengthening the team, given that they’ve got a lot of games coming up?
Without a doubt. I was very surprised. OK, not bringing in a top striker, because it’s a tough time of year to bring one in, but I think they were looking one for about 40 million weren’t they?
They’re looking at a few players, yeah.
So not bringing in, let’s say a £10 million player, that was crazy to not even bring a £10 million forward in. A £10 million player might have been the right result for West Ham. By signing someone that didn’t expect, to be in front of Antonio, Bowen, but someone who would get in there when he was needed.
It could have been vital for them to sign a player that has scored his goals at Championship level; a player on the way up that’s he’s full of confidence and chomping at the bit, saying “Give me a chance, because I like this team, I could score goals in this team.” You can see him sitting on the bench going, “Moyesy, look, I’m ready. Antonio’s looking a little bit tired, go on, put me on please.”
It’s a long season when it starts getting to February, March, and you’re still in competitions, you’ve got game after game, you’re looking for people to give you that little bit of a spark. It would have been ideal to get that back-up player, that £10 million player.
I mean, I’m only saying that £10 million player, but you look at Antonio at the moment, you’d say, “If you wanted to sell him you’d get £60 million for him. If you wanted to sell Bowen, you’d get £40 million for him.” So you need that other one just chomping at the bit, to say, “I’m here as well if I’m needed.”
On Jarrod Bowen
On Bowen, he’s having a great season, obviously you played for your country with distinction, how far away do you reckon he is from an England Cap, and does he deserve that chance?
Without a doubt. I think he’s in and around it, he’s full of confidence at the moment. He’s exciting, he’s full of verve and he’s ready to take on any opposition. You can see he’s excited about playing football and he’s at the top of his game, at the top level.
When you look at the other players that are in and around the England squad that could be picked, not many are playing with the distinction that he is. I would put him in and give him a chance, “Show us what you can do at this level.” I think it’s exciting. He’s not just a flash in the pan, he gets hold of the ball, uses his body well, takes people on, shoots, brings other people into the game. I think he’s got a bit of everything, I really like him.
On Declan Rice
Every time Declan Rice plays it looks like he puts another £10 million on his valuation, but how impressed have you been by him and what’s the limit of his career?
I thought he was the outstanding player for England in the Euros. I was so disappointed when he got taken off in the final. I thought we couldn’t keep the ball in the final, that was our downfall, that’s why we lost the game.
If he didn’t see a pass on the football pitch, he manoeuvred with the ball and kept possesion. He took people on, which is so hard to do and very rarely do you see players that can do that, especially later on in a game.
I have to liken him to Steven Gerrard. Not many players can eat up the ground like Declan, Gerrard used to do exactly the same, he used to overpower people in midfield. Add that to his passing ability, his understanding of the game, his knowledge of the game, he’s obviously, getting led by Mark Noble. His desire, you can see how he loves the game and wants to get better.
For me, he’s up there with the top players in the world in midfield at the moment, there’s no denying that. I think Moyes said something about him being a £100 million player, didn’t he?
I’d hold on to him and say, “I want more than that, this player’s unbelievable, he’s better than that. If you really want this guy you’re going to have to break the bank and show me you think of him as much as I do, because I’m not letting him go for £100 million.”
What kind of number, Teddy, 150?
You tell me about a midfield player in the world at the moment.
He’s double. When the best centre forward in the world was up for sale in the summer, Tottenham wanted £200 million for him, the other clubs didn’t have that valuation. I’m going up to 150, 160 for Declan Rice.
He’s brilliant, and it’s great to see him, because it looks like he gets better with every game
Yeah, and then he adds goals to his game as well.
That puts another load of money on the sale price. You know, if he can keep doing that, wow.
On Nottingham Forest
Just a quick on one of your old clubs, Forest. They’ve taken two Premier League scalps in the FA Cup this season. Do you reckon they could go all the way, could they do it?
I tell you what, Steve Cooper, he’s gone in there, wow, what a difference he’s made. The club was languishing, not going anywhere, faltering. He’s come in and steadied the ship and got them all on side, and they’re performing at the top of their game, these players, they’re performing for him, the manager.
They’re understanding what he wants. Who knows where that can take them. As long as they don’t come up against a top team then who knows, they might get all the way to the final. It’s looking great. I think their aim is to get promoted to the Premier League, so for him he needs to make sure they get to the next level for next year, that’s their ambition.