PRE IPSWICH

Telegraph-sport

IT’S a real honour for me to be taking part in a discussion evening with Roy McFarland, who is a Derby County legend.
The evening is at the QUAD in Derby on Wednesday and I am looking forward to chatting with Roy.
It set me thinking about the players I looked up to as a youngster.
I know I shouldn’t mention this being a Derby player, but Nottingham Forest was the team I supported as a kid and Stuart Pearce was the player who stood out for me.
Everybody saw the way he played the game.
He was a hard man – always nice to see when you are a fellow-defender – but he had that pride, passion and determination.
He was an honest player, and I like that because it is easy to get sucked into the world of football and everything that is attached to it.
Pearce stood out a mile.
I can remember him winning games with his thunderous free kicks but there was always those crunching tackles that fans loved to see. He made a huge impression on me.
When I started out myself at Rotherham Unuted there were numerous players who I looked up to.
Rotherham was an old-fashioned club at the time and there were some tough players.
Martin McIntosh was a very good player, and captain, and Guy Branston was there. He was a great lad, full of energy and a proper hard man.
But, for me, Chris Swailes never really got the recognition he deserved.
Chris was outstanding for the three or four seasons he was there, and I played with him which was a great experience.
He was 6ft at most, and was one of the best in the air I have seen, aggressive and determined. I loved playing alongside him.
People tend to talk about defenders who can take the ball out from the back, defenders who look composed and make last-ditch tackles.
They look good, but for me I have always rated the players who go unnoticed, players like Cardiff City’s Mark Hudson, who was also a key figure at Crystal Palace.
He has been a very solid and consistent defender, and has won promotions, but was never mentioned in ?3m and ?4m moves while others seemed to receive more recognition.
You know as a centre half how valuable players like Hudson are to teams and squads.
That is why Jake Buxton is such a favourite with the fans, and valued by his team mates.
When Bucko and I signed for Derby, I got the impression the fans were pleased to see a “proper” centre half. By that, I mean the club may be had some central defenders who were quick and good on the ball.
Bucko and myself came in, played quite a lot together and brought back the old-fashioned centre half, so to speak.
Bucko has always had that ability in his locker.
He and Richard Keogh are very good footballers, and also very different.
Rich likes to bring the ball out with pace and picks passes inside where Bucko is quite comfortable having the ball and hitting 50 to 60-yard passes with his lft foot, which is supposed to be his weakest. His right foot is probably awful now!
Having said that, there is always a side of him that prefers a battle.
If he could, he would be backs-to-the-wall for 90 minutes having to head everything and tackle everything.
I enjoy that side of the game.
My favourite matches have been those where we are hanging on to a lead with 10 minutes to go, that is when I probably excell.
Bucko has had to may be change his style and he has adapted. He has gone from being a player who is doing really well in the Championship to one who is very comfortable and one of the best centre halves in the division.
Pretty much any team in the Championship would want Bucko in their side, and we have got three or four central defenders like that now.

This is my site. I play football and have written this thing that you see above this box. There are likely to be typos cos I'm a footballer

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