Liverpool legends and the Lion City Cup
Who was the Liverpool manager at the time?
At that time it was Kenny Dalglish, just after Roy Hodgson had left. I was working in the analysis department and in between Kenny Dalglish was the head analyst, so I’d report to the head analyst. But I’d be in the first team training ground and get to see these guys. Kenny was an unbelievable guy to speak to and he’d be in the Academy a lot watching the players. It was amazing going from someone my dad worshipped to the next day working with him and speaking to him.
Can you give us some insight into training standards from someone like Steven Gerrard or Luis Suarez and what makes them so good?
I’ve been lucky to watch training all the way from the first team down to Academy level, under-fives, and I think the thing that separates the top players is the mentality. It’s treating every day as an opportunity to learn and an opportunity to win and they’re so desperate to improve and be better than the day before. They’re constantly competing with themselves and other people. Gerrard epitomised the modern professional. He’d be the first one out to train and the last to go in. Even though he was captain of England and captain of Liverpool and had achieved so much in the game, he was always there ready to improve. You can’t help but be inspired by someone like that.
So what do you now know about football in Asia and the potential of football in this region?
One thing that really attracted me to the job at ESPZEN was the growth of football in Asia. You can really see there’s a lot of work being put in to develop football in so many countries in Asia. For me that was one of the main things that attracted me. They want to develop a football culture and develop players to play at the top level and I think it’s an exciting thing to be a part of and really drew me here.