The midfielder shares his views on Disney, EastEnders and Iraq with FourFourTwo in 2009.
Morning, Nige. Who’s the best Nigel of all time?
Hmm… how about Nigel from EastEnders? He was a nice bloke wasn’t he, always thinking of others. Very considerate.
Do you see any of yourself in him?
Yeah. I’ve got a kind side like Nigel. Although actually, can I change my Nigel to Naughty Nigel, from the kids’ books? He was always getting up to stuff, he was great.
Fair enough. Was it right to invade Iraq?
No way. That war was about money, power and oil, nothing else. It’s not a real war at all it was just about greed. It was a disgrace.
Are you a political man, then? What do you think to Boris Johnson?
The London mayor? I’m not sure about his personality, but let’s hope he gets some things done for London. I’m from the outskirts of the city and there are a lot of issues that need sorting out, particularly getting tough on the youth of today. They need to be educated, and get out of the ‘get rich quick’ lifestyle
We’ve gone a bit serious there. Apologies. Would you rather have your feet replaced by rollerskates, or your hands replaced by drumsticks?
Er, I’ll go for the rollerskates, that wouldn’t be too bad, rolling about everywhere really fast. You’re not going to be able to get much done in life with drumstick hands.
Wouldn’t the roller feet damage your career, though?
Hmm… I suppose they’re not going to work for football, are they? Can I switch to drumstick hands when I’m playing a match?
Why not? Who is the most attractive female cartoon character?
Ooh… good one. I’ll go for Jessica Rabbit, she had some curves. She was a Marilyn Monroe type, I like that.
Wasn’t she a rabbit, though? Surely that’s somehow ethically wrong.
I don’t think she was a rabbit. She was human, wasn’t she?
Sorry, I’m getting confused.
Roger Rabbit was the rabbit, wasn’t he? But I’m not sure now. Can I change to Pocahontas? She had those South American curves, very nice, and she was an outdoor type and in touch with nature, which is great.
You and Pocahontas could go fishing.
Yeah. I like the outdoors and I love fishing, especially sea fishing. I’ve got a tuna that I caught in Florida stuffed in my house, it’s a massive thing. I’m not really one for going fishing down the canal, but it’s great to go out in a boat on the sea and fish.
Who would be your Fantasy Uncle, Nige?
I’m going to say Tupac Shakur. He was a great artist and a really educated guy – and he came up from absolutely nothing. You could have a good chat to him – he uplifted a generation. Although I also think Bill Clinton would make a great uncle. He was a funny guy. He plays sax, he smokes dope in the Whitehouse, he had an affair, that guy did some real gangster (spelling) s-h-i-t. But he was a realist, a real president. I’m not a fan of Bush.
In the event of you being murdered, who off the telly would you like to investigate the case?
I’d have to say Horatio from the CSI team. I’ve become a mad fan of that show for some reason. It makes me consider taking on a second career, it’s so cool. I want to be a forensics guy!
Certainly better than opening a pub! Ever have any disturbing dreams, Nige?
I get one quite a lot where I’m falling off a building, but weirdly I know that �I’m going to be safe and won’t die. Subconsciously I must know it’s a dream. And I often get the feeling I’m being pressed down into the bed, almost like I’m paralysed.
Curious. Are you in favour of cloning?
No way. That stuff is playing God, and we should stay away from it.
Imagine you can play God: what superpower would you most like to possess?
X-ray vision. It would be great to be able to see through walls and stuff.
And presumably, women’s undergarments.
Ha! We’ll see. They could call me ‘Nigel The Eyes’.
Or Naughty Nigel, like the books. Cheers, Nige.
Thanks, take it easy.
Interview: September 2008. Nigel has done work for Hope and Homes for Children, a charity dedicated to providing a family and future for young victims of war and disaster. www.hopeandhomes.org