Shortcut: I Am the Secret Footballer
As a kid I played football day and night. I used to take a football to bed with me so that I could practice before school. My ambition was to win the World Cup.
I had a sticker album with famous footballers. I found it really exciting to look at it. I wondered what it was like to be a professional footballer. Years later one of my team-mates played for England. I asked him what it was like. He said it was great.
The Big Time
Who are the best players I have ever played against? It is difficult to know how to answer. I have played against Rooney, Henry, Ronaldo, Van Persie, Alonso, Drogba and Bale. I wasn’t scared of playing against them. I was too busy chasing the ball.
The difference between clubs at the top and the bottom of the league is huge. At the lower-league club, there aren’t so many people to help the players. There is only one man who looks after and washes the kit, one physio who only had simple equipment, and we play in the park.
At the top of the league there are lots of people. There are kit men, physios, masseurs and fitness coaches and fulltime chefs. We have five training pitches at the club.
Not everything in at the top of the league is good. At the lower level, I loved playing in games where no-one knew who I was. They didn’t expect so much from me. I miss that freedom now.
Now, at the top of the league, there is a lot of pressure on the player to be perfect. It sometimes gives me a lot of frustration. I would love to get back the innocence of my early playing days.
How many of you think football players are overpaid? Most, I’ll bet. It is rare that anyone says that the owners were mad to give him so much money. People get angry with the player instead. I don’t think that is fair. How many people would say to their boss: “You know what? I think you’re paying me too much.”