Sky Sports’ latest signing talks exclusively to Nuts magazine on Man Utd, England and being the new Andy Gray!
Hi Nuts, are you going be taking the p*ss?
Yeah, we might do. What was the banter like at United? Did they take the p*ss out of you?
Its pretty ruthless but fun as well – it’s mainly the young lads now so we just let them play. Everyone is up for the banter but the spirit at United has always been fantastic – the new lads have to stand up and make a speech!
Has it? Any interesting stories then?
Not that I can repeat!
Who was the biggest joker in the United dressing room?
Patrice Evra likes a wind up; he’s pretty funny actually.
How are you enjoying your new job on Sky?
Yeah it’s going really well, there are a lot of good people there.
You’re the new Andy Gray on Monday Night Football now. You’ve got some pretty big shoes to fill…
Andy Gray made it look easy – but then he had been doing it for 20 years! I got no training at all, I took the Sky Pad home to practice and I had it for a week and then one rehearsal and then I was live on TV for 3 hours!
Yeah, you looked a bit uneasy to start with…
I was a bit ropey to begin with but I watch the shows back and analyse my performance and I think I’m getting better every show.
You didn’t fancy management or coaching then?
I spoke to the boss and I had offers, but it’s too stressful and intense these days. The average manager only lasts about 10 months! I wanted something in business or to keep my brain stimulated and then I got the Sky gig so I’m really happy with it.
The transfer window closed last night – what did you make of it all?
Arsenal have spent some money at last. Arteta is a good player, so he’ll be a good signing. Scott Parker is a good signing for Tottenham and Meireles at Chelsea so it should be interesting to see how they all get on. Plus, you’ve got City who have got a really strong squad now too.
Can Man City win the league this season?
They are the nearest challengers to United now, their squad is very strong but then they have spent a lot of money on it.
How about your other favourite team – Liverpool?
They have started to buy a different type of player now, much more suited to the Premiership. Kenny Dalglish is definitely the right man for that job and they will challenge United this year.
In your book, your say your England career was a waste of time – what did you mean by that?
At United we are trained to win things, it wasn’t like that with England – think of it like this if you take a girl out 85 times, like I did, you’d expect her to be your girlfriend right? It was a waste of time. There was never any end product with England.
Why do you think England never win anything then? What’s wrong?
We set ourselves up for a fall. We always expect to win tournaments when we haven’t won anything for years – we will qualify for Euro 2012 and everyone will be on their high horses expecting us to win it. What about Spain, France, Germany? Torres, Villa, Fabregas, Pedro – will they not be there? Look at the cricketers and the Rugby they say they will win and they do – they believe they can win tournaments.
How can England improve then?
Technically we are getting better, it has to come from the bottom and it is looking better now. Look at Cleverly and Wilshire, technically they are very good. When I grew up watching football it was nowhere near as technical as it is now! The Premiership is so much better now thanks to players like Silva at Man City and kids are watching it. Kids want Ronaldo and Silva on their shirts not Gary Neville!
It must help having players like Cleverly, Smalling and Jones coming through at the same time and within the same team. Similar to when you came through at Utd with Beckham and co…
Yeah it will help because the players know each other, their strength and weaknesses, but when we came through together it didn’t help England win anything did it?
Don’t forget Wayne Rooney…
Of course Wayne is there as well.
What do you think of Rooney’s new hair?
Ha-ha! Yeah it looks good on him!
As a right back, have you been impressed with Chris Smalling?
Yeah at the moment he’s the best in the league, with Glen Johnson injured he has a real chance to stake a claim in the England squad.
Thanks for the chat Gary! Before we go…who’s the best player you played with at Utd and England?
Paul Scholes. He was technically amazing; people forget I saw him develop. I played with him since he was 12 years old. Look at the players who have said that about him, Iniesta, Xavi, and Gerrard that says how good he was.
He’s a bit boring though isn’t he?
No! He’s actually very witty, funny and edgy but only if you know him, which not many people do!