Glenn Roeder: Giggs the best in Premier League
Former West Ham boss Glenn Roeder reveals his sporting hero, with Sir Bobby Moore to the fore.
Who was your sporting hero as a boy?
I am a lad from the East End of London, so it has to be Bobby Moore. I go back that far. I was 11 when he captained England to the World Cup, and of course he was captain of West Ham as well. I remember whenever I went to Upton Park, you knew the team was coming out because the ball would fly out of the tunnel and into the air, followed by Moore striding majestically out in front of the team. I was fortunate enough to play against him near the end of his career at Fulham, and met him a number of times. A thorough gentleman.
Who was the most talented player you have ever worked with?
I remember that myself and Liam Brady had trials at Arsenal on the very same day, one Sunday in August many years ago when we were both 13 years old. He had come over from Dublin.
There were two age groups that day. In the older group was Brian Flynn, who went on to become a top player, and in our age group we had Laurie Cunningham and Liam Brady, who was so much better than anyone else there.
It's a shame that we lost seven years of Liam’s best years because he went to play in Italy, which at the time was considered the best league in the world. He was one of the few British or Irish players to have a sustained successful career abroad in those days.
As for players I have worked with a as a coach, I was very fortunate while working under Glenn Hoddle with England to see the likes of a David Beckham, Alan Shearer and Michael Owen. We have been robbed of one of England's greatest goal scorers having a full career because of the injuries Owen has had.
Then there was Tony Adams, Paul Gascoigne, Peter Beardsley, Chris Waddle... I've been very fortunate to work with some magnificent players.
What player that has graced the Barclays Premier League in the past 20 years stands out for you and why?
I think there is one who is head and shoulders above everyone. As many great players as there have been, I think that because he has stood the test of time and is still playing now I would say Ryan Giggs.
I've never met him, but all the players I know who have worked with him love him, both as a player and as a person. He is the real McCoy.
Sir Alex Ferguson once told me a story about how he put a 14-year-old Giggs in to train with the first team. As a left winger, he was up against Viv Anderson, an experienced England international. He told Viv: "Go easy on him, he's only 14."
About 20 minutes into the game, Viv called over to Ferguson and said: "Gaffer, tell him to go easy on me!"