The former Liverpool, Real Madrid, Manchester United and England striker chooses his six most significant matches...
May 6, 1997: Wimbledon 2-1 Liverpool
When you’re playing youth and reserve team football, you dream of playing in the first team. I was handed my chance away at Wimbledon and I wanted to make an impression. We’d just gone 2-0 down, so it was a difficult time to be introduced. But Stig Inge Bjornebye slotted the ball into my path and I had a bit of time to pick my spot and put the ball past Neil Sullivan.
June 30, 1998: Argentina 2-2 England
I was only 18 at the time and it was huge to get the opportunity to start such a massive World Cup game. After Gabriel Batistuta had given Argentina the lead, we got a reply pretty much instantly through Alan Shearer’s penalty. We definitely shaded the first half, and of all the goals I scored in my career, the one against Argentina is probably the best. I just felt confident running at them and it was a great feeling to score. We ended up losing on penalties, but we’d given a magnificent account of ourselves nevertheless.
May 12, 2001: Arsenal 1-2 Liverpool
It’s fair to say that Arsenal played very well in this game and took a deserved 1-0 lead. When you’re only a goal down, though, you’re always in a match. In the last 10 minutes, Gary McAllister took a free-kick which bounced around in the Arsenal penalty area and I managed to get a clean strike to score. Then, with only a minute of normal time remaining, Patrik Berger fed me with a glorious long pass and I beat Lee Dixon to the ball to finish in the bottom corner. The FA Cup is a trophy you dream of winning as a kid and to win it like that is extra special.
September 1, 2001: Germany 1-5 England
We went 1-0 down to Carsten Jancker’s opener, but I scored a quick response and Steven Gerrard gave us the lead just before half-time with a wonderful strike. In the dressing room at the break, I just had that feeling you get sometimes that we could go out and score plenty more. So it proved. It was a fantastic night and to get a hat-trick in such a big match meant so much to me. Not many players score three in one game against Germany in their career.
April 10, 2005: Real Madrid 4-2 Barcelona
El Clasico is probably the biggest club match in the world and to score in a 4-2 win was fantastic. Our other scorers that night were Zinedine Zidane, Raul and Ronaldo, which tells you all you need to know about the quality of that Madrid side. The only disappointment came at the end of the season – Barcelona had pipped us to the title by four points.
September 20, 2009: Man United 4-3 Man City
“It was a topsy-turvy match and, watching from the bench, I was just hoping to get my chance to make an impact. Scoring a goal as dramatic as that in stoppage time was incredible – a moment I’ll never forget. The fact that it came in a game as big as that makes it even better. It’s probably the goal Manchester United fans will remember me best for.”
Interview: Andy Greeves. This feature first appeared in the March 2014 issue of FourFourTwo magazine. Subscribe!