Craw­ley’s Billy Clarke picks the best XI he has played with and against

The Football League Paper - - NEWS -


Joe Hart – Manch­ester City I played against him for the Repub­lic of Ire­land in an U21 Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship qual­i­fier. Eng­land won 3-0 and I don’t think we had a shot at him all match but, see­ing what he has gone on to do, he is one of the best in the world and a great keeper.


Sea­mus Cole­man – Ever­ton A great player. I played with him when he was on loan at Black­pool and we got pro­moted to the Pre­mier League to­gether. He scored six or seven goals that sea­son and has shown what a talent he is with Ever­ton. He’s a re­ally nice guy, quite re­served but great to be around.


Glen John­son – Liver­pool He was at Portsmouth and went on to win the FA Cup. Very hard to come up against, very strong and gets for­ward re­ally well. I found it tough go­ing against him, and now he’s do­ing well for Liver­pool and has also played for Eng­land nu­mer­ous times.


Sol Camp­bell – Re­tired An­other at Portsmouth. I played against him and Syl­vain Dis­tin and it was a re­ally tough bat­tle. They are dou­ble the size of me. I tried to get around Sol but he was a sea­soned pro and knew what he was do­ing. Ivan Campo – Re­tired I played with him at Ip­swich, and be­ing on the same team as some­one who has won the Cham­pi­ons League with Real Madrid was just great. Not many people get to win that. He was good to have in the dress­ing room, and had a good un­der­stand­ing of English – when he wanted to!


Cesc Fabre­gas – Barcelona I played against him when he was with the Span­ish U17 side. We drew 1-1 but at the time he was just break­ing into the Ar­se­nal team. What he has gone on to achieve is just un­be­liev­able and you could tell, even then, that he was go­ing to be a great player. Miguel Veloso – Dy­namo Kiev An­other one I played in a na­tional match, this time in an U21 qual­i­fier against Por­tu­gal. He was 17 and played un­be­liev­ably and now he is play­ing reg­u­larly for Por­tu­gal. He’s a qual­ity player. Mark No­ble – West Ham Mark is one of my best mates. I played with him when he came on loan to Ip­swich and then against him when we took on Eng­land U21s. There would al­ways be some good ban­ter be­tween us in the week be­fore the game where the Repub­lic of Ire­land lost 3-0 in 2008. He’s al­ways good fun.


Theo Wal­cott – Ar­se­nal Theo’s an­other who played in that U21 game and scored against us. He was only young but so quick. It’s great to see him go­ing on and trans­fer­ring that scor­ing abil­ity to Ar­se­nal. He has got a lot stronger too.


Gio­vani dos San­tos – Vil­lar­real He came on loan to Ip­swich when I was there and he was so skil­ful. He’d started at Barcelona and he has such trick­ery and drib­bling skills. He was just a happy-golucky kind of guy, al­though it was an­noy­ing see­ing him beat you in train­ing.


Kevin Phillips – Le­ices­ter City He is a ridicu­lous fin­isher, prob­a­bly the best I have ever seen. I played with him at Black­pool and it was great. He was 38 then but he kept him­self in such good shape. He’s also a great guy to be around, not big-headed at all de­spite all that he has achieved.

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