ALAN SMITH

The goal poacher-turned-mi­cro­phone both­erer names the best he shared a pitch with while play­ing for Le­ices­ter, Ar­se­nal and Eng­land

FourFourTwo - - BEST OF THE BEST -

TONY ADAMS “I’ll never for­get when Tony was named the cap­tain of Ar­se­nal, suc­ceed­ing Kenny San­som. He was only 21 at the time and we all thought, ‘Blimey, that is one hell of a call from the gaffer.’ But he’d acted like a cap­tain from the age of about 12 and he took it on with­out any prob­lems what­so­ever. Plus, you only had to play against him for five min­utes in train­ing to re­alise what a great player Tony was.”

DAVID ROCASTLE “He had the heart of a lion, the skills of a Brazil­ian and tack­led like a rhino: he was the com­plete pack­age. Rocky was never quite the same af­ter his knee op­er­a­tion, but in the early days he was a won­der­ful player and ev­ery­body loved him. He was ex­cep­tional the night we won the league at An­field in 1989. I will never for­get him win­ning a free-kick, get­ting back up and pump­ing his fist, with his eyes and teeth gleam­ing. He had a de­sire to win. It was from that set-piece I scored the opener.”

PAUL GAS­COIGNE “I played along­side him for Eng­land in his peak years – Gazza had such con­fi­dence. He was so proud af­ter his first Eng­land goal, say­ing: ‘If I don’t do any­thing else in my ca­reer, I’ve scored for my coun­try at Wem­b­ley.’ He also hit that in­cred­i­ble free-kick for Tot­ten­ham against Ar­se­nal in the 1991 FA Cup semi-fi­nal. It whizzed right past my ear and I looked over my shoul­der to see it fly in the top cor­ner.”

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