Ian Rush: I never said Italy "was like a foreign country" – Dalglish has a lot to answer for!

Liverpool’s record scorer on turning down United, worshipping Latchford and that Juve quote... 

I knew I’d made it as a player...

Manchester United tried to sign me when I was playing for Flintshire Schoolboys

In the League Cup final replay in 1981. There were four or five injured and Bob Paisley threw me in. I had a great game – it was only my second for Liverpool and we beat West Ham 2-1. I’d played two games, won one medal, and realised I could play with the best.

Manchester United tried to sign me when I was playing for Flintshire Schoolboys. They came to watch me and asked my dad whether I’d be interested, but I’d already committed to Chester at the time so my dad, being very loyal, told them that. They did try him a few times, but once I’d made the decision there was no going back.

My proudest moment was...

The 1986 FA Cup Final. As a kid I’d dreamed about scoring the winning goal in the FA Cup final. We did the Double that year, beating Everton to win the league, but I hadn’t dreamed about winning the league – I’d dreamed about scoring in the cup final. When I look back and watch now, I still get goosebumps.

The day football broke my heart was...

When I had to retire. Your mind tells you that you can still play, but your legs are telling you that you can’t. You have to adapt [your life] and it took me two years to do that.

I’m so glad that...

I went round the keeper, knocked it in and the ball went a yard over the line then stopped because it was so wet. The referee didn’t give it

Goal-line technology has finally made it into the game. I remember playing Brighton in the cup once on a really wet day. I went round the keeper, knocked it in and the ball went a yard over the line then stopped because it was so wet. The referee didn’t give it – and we actually lost that game.

The best player I played alongside was...

Kenny Dalglish. The understanding we had together was incredible – it must have been good because I couldn’t understand 
a word he was saying!

Dalglish and Rush struck up a superb partnership at Anfield

My hero growing up was...

Bob Latchford. I was an Everton supporter and the season I watched him, he scored 30 goals for them. I was brought up on him. He was a goal poacher as well.

At Juventus I learned...

I didn’t actually say Italy was “like living in a foreign country”

To be a better all-round player. I went to Italy as a goalscorer and came back a better footballer. At Liverpool, because we had such a great team, my job was just to be in and around the box. In Italy I was around the pitch more, getting back to the halfway line and everything.

I didn’t actually say Italy was “like living in a foreign country”. No one has ever seen a direct quote from me saying that. I’m blaming Kenny Dalglish. When he re-signed me, a reporter asked me, “Why have you come back?” Kenny quipped, “He said it was like playing in a foreign country”. He’s got a lot to answer for!

My one regret was...

Wales not making a major tournament. If we’d qualified for USA 94, we’d have done very well. The team that beat us, Romania, got to the quarter-finals that year.

The best keeper I ever faced was...

Neville Southall. I scored loads against him but if it wasn’t for Neville, I’d have scored double the amount against Everton. For four or five years in the ’80s he was the best goalkeeper in the world.

International colleague Southall was the best keeper Rush ever came up against

The roar of the Kop is...

Unbelievable. It gives you extra energy. When you’re feeling tired they get behind you, and it worries the opposition as well.

If I could have one wish granted it would be...

...for Liverpool to win the league again!

This feature first appeared in the November 2013 issue of FourFourTwo magazine. Subscribe!

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