Anthony Stokes: Talentspotter

Shortly after his move from Arsenal to Sunderland in 2007 the Republic of Ireland international, now of Celtic, spoke to FourFourTwo to tell us more about himself.

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Dublin, Ireland 25/7/88


Everyone just calls me Stokesy. A bit boring, but there it is.

Club supported as a boy
I always supported Manchester United and Celtic, like a lot of kids in Ireland.

I'm a natural goalscorer. I can come off short, like to get in and around the box and I'm good playing off the last defender.

I could probably do with improving my heading. I'm not great in the air and I'd like to score more headers.

I play a bit like
I'd say Dennis Bergkamp, because I play in a similar position to him, dropping deep and I'm good at creeping forward into the box.

The three hat-tricks for Falkirk are up there, but the best moment was probably beating Celtic in the cup with Falkirk at Parkhead when I scored the equaliser.

That's a difficult one, as there haven't really been any, though if pushed I'd have to say the few months after I first moved over to Arsenal from Ireland. I was only 15 and I was really homesick, so that was a hard time.

Best player played with
It has to be Thierry Henry. No surprises there. Even just playing along side him in training, it's obvious he has everything - his finishing, pace and control make him by far the most complete player I've seen.

Toughest opponent
That's easy: Kolo Toure - he's a terrific defender. He's so strong and soquick. The only defender I've come up against who is stronger is Bobo Balde, but he is not as quick or skilful. Kolo must be up there with the best in the world.

Biggest influence
My dad, without a doubt. He's been there for me since I first started playing at five or six, pushing me and guiding me. He still helps me train today, and he also acts as my agent.

Best advice given
My dad always told me to go out and do my best, give 100 per cent and prepare properly.He said as long as you do that, whatever happens, you know you can't do anymore. That's what I've done.

Most embarrassing moment
Missing a sitter in a pre-season friendly from two yards out against Barnet in front of Arsene Wenger. That was embarrassing.

Biggest joker
That would probably be Stephen O'Donnell, my teammate at Falkirk, who was at Arsenal with me too. He has some real moments, he's always messing around. For example, once when [Falkirk manager] John Hughes was doing a TV interview, Stephen came up and pulled his trousers down in front of the cameras.

Best friend in football
Since I've been up in Falkirk, it's been O'Donnell and Patrick Clegg who I've known since I was a kid back in Ireland. We lived next door to each other up in Scotland and hung out together all time.

At the moment, it's a Mercedes C180, but I'm looking to buy an Escalade or a BMW.

That'd have to be Jessica Simpson. Why? Do I really need to explain?

Michael Collins is my favourite movie. I'm not really big on history, was never good at school, but that is such a great story.

America - Miami. I'm heading there in the summer again hopefully.

Latest iPod download
A bit of everything. I've got everything from Irish folk music to R&B. I've got very wide tastes.

TV programmes
Friends - I've been watching it for years and never miss an episode.

With my first pay packet I bought
Mercedes. That's still my biggest purchase so far.

Describe yourself in five words
Outgoing, good-looking, friendly, confident and modest [laughs].

If I hadn't been a footballer
I'd have probably stayed in Ireland and got an ordinary job. I'm not sure what.

In five years time I'll be
Playing regular first team football, hopefully in the Premiership and featuring regularly for Ireland. I just have to be patient and carry on working hard, but hopefully that time isn't too far away.

From the March 2007 issue of FourFourTwo.