Tim Lovejoy - Wayne Rooney is the greatest player England have produced
Published: 19 Feb 2010 - 07:09:55
I'm about to make a statement I could get absolutely hammered for.
Last year I said the English clubs would really fancy Barcelona in the draw for the knock-out stages of the Champions League. As it turns out, they completely outplayed Man United in the final and made me look stupid.
That said, Chelsea had the beating of them in the semis, but the ref had other ideas. Anyway, I think it's time I got over that one.
My 2010 statement is even bolder. I think Wayne Rooney is possibly the greatest player this country has ever produced.
I'm not saying he's the greatest player in history. That title goes to Zinedane Zidane in my opinion. He had two feet and just about every attribute you could want from a footballer. He could change a match and get the better of the best defences in the world.
People will argue Maradona, which is fair, and as for Pele, we all know he's the greatest, but we just haven't seen enough footage to fully judge his talent.
I've spoken to David Beckham and Steve McManaman about Zidane, and they both said he was the best player they'd ever seen.
But when it comes to the greatest English player, Rooney doesn't have that much competition.
Bobby Moore was a great defender and lifted the World Cup, and Bobby Charlton was pretty special too, but I think Rooney has the potential to be the greatest.
In the modern era Paul Gascoigne stood out, but Rooney's ability to score goals and his superior mental approach puts him in poll position.
Glenn Hoddle had tremendous natural ability and maybe the most accurate passer our game has seen, but he too pales in comparison to what Rooney could achieve.
In Rooney England have the ultimate footballer. He has immense skill, an eye for goal and most importantly, he goes about his business with true English grit and spirit.Rooney plays at a high tempo and has unbelievable passion. He has qualities that are envied all over the world.
You have to give Sir Alex Ferguson credit for the way he's nurtured Rooney’s talent. Without Ferguson's influence he would not have come so far in such a short time.
FOOTBALL'S TRIPLE CROWN
Here's a teaser for you. Has a player ever won the 'Holy Grail' of domestic league title, the Champions League and the World Cup in the same season?
It's tempting fate somewhat, but for Chelsea and Manchester United players it's a real possibility this season.
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- Tim Lovejoy rose to fame as the genial co-host of Soccer AM, deploying his sharp wit and extensive football knowledge alongside Helen Chamberlain when the show launched in 1996. A Saturday audience of millions tuned in, and Lovejoy fast became a household name. After leaving Sky in 2007, Lovejoy is now a regular presenter at BBC Radio 5 Live, and co-hosts the popular Friday night show, ‘Murray and Lovejoy’s Sports Express’ with Colin Murray. He can also be found hosting BBC Two's Sunday magazine show, 'Something for the Weekend'.
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