By Aidan, Otherwise Known as @EnglandYouth
Ah, yes. A favourite player. I used to be all of them wrapped into one as I tottered about the back garden in my England kit.
Dribbling past garden gnomes, wellying it at the neighbors fence, doing my own commentary – all that fantasy rubbish. I lived it. Now I get to write about it. Not even write about it, I have to write about him. A redundantly single individual. A deity of a man. Someone who I have to put on a pedestal and revere in the most emphatic way possible.
Just the one man…just the one player I consider to be my ‘favourite’ player.
Being that EnglandFootballBlog.com is all about English football, I could choose a Charlton, a World Cup winning Bobby Moore, or any of England’s valiant Captains over the decades…hell, I could even pull a story out of my arse and write up something about Anthony Gardner or Seth Johnson or perhaps play it safe with my man crush, Joe Cole.
Well, instead of going down the easy route, I’m going to stoke the embers here and pour some petrol on the fire. I’m also going to continue to violate all journalistic “rules” and write this article entirely in first person. My two picks include one player who most readers will hate, while my other pick will be hated even more. Either way, I love them, so go stuff yourself.
Player number one is Craig Douglas Bellamy. Blasphemy, I know, to consider a former Manchester City and current Liverpool player on a Manchester United blog, perhaps, but it’s no worse than glorifying Diego Maradona. At the time of writing, Bellamy is a tender 32 years of age. He’s been somewhat of a journeyman player and, of course, an enigmatic figure in football. Difficult to interpret and certainly hard to understand, you could either view him as Wales’ version of David Beckham (the modicum of tenacity) or their version of Joey Barton (being a giant tit).
Agnostic of the shirt he wore (or is wearing), Bellamy has always delivered the goods. No matter the team. There’s something electrifying about the way he plays the game. His pace, his movement off the ball, and particularly, the bollocking he gives the opposition and teammates alike. He’s a modern day “old soul” of football. For every Norman “Bites Yer Legs” Hunter that graced the game, there’s a snood wearing Carlos Tevez.
Bellamy may come across a bit of a berk off the pitch, but on it, his records and performances do the talking. Presently Wales’ fifth greatest goal scorer of all time, and someone who has ploughed through those constant career crossroads to prove others wrong, he’s the type of player you would want on your Sunday League and 5-aside roster, and is someone who I publicly have to doff my cap.
A close runner up is simply the fantastic Owen Hargreaves. Sadly, Hargo (and his hair) are unjustly hated by some Manchester United fans but for every club > country fan out there, there’s the dedicated England fan who will sit you down and regale you with tales of Germany 2006.
They’ll explain how the man with the curly hair and funny accent was the only one to convert in the penalty shootout against Portugal…and then will likely proceed to burst into tears due to his recent disappearing act. This diamond in the rough is the only good thing Svennis brought to the table during his stint as England manager, and long may my fingers remained crossed that Hargreaves gets capped once more. Best of luck to you, whatever club you’re at Mr. Hargreaves.
Two polar opposites in terms of personalities, but two gems who I thoroughly enjoy watching (when fit) and of course not-so-secretly-anymore championing. Ironic, considering one is Welsh and the other born in Canada…
By Aidan, who runs the excellent an excellent site, the England Football Blog, which follows England‘s blossoming, exciting, and often perplexing talent at youth level.