|Org||xxxx National Team|
|Club as Player||Celtic FC|
2019 10 09 Retrieve
[Chelsea icon Craig Burley reveals why he isn’t sold on Arsenal] I’m not sold on Arsenal, no. But, I’m not sold on anyone apart from Liverpool or Man City, and City at the moment are having a glitch by their standards.
They’ve got two excellent strikers, one who is out injured at the moment - Lacazette - and Aubameyang looks as if he’s going to have a good return of goals again. They’ve got some good youngsters, and it looks like Unai Emery is going to give them some game time, he’s given them their head, and you saw it with young Martinelli in midweek. I don’t like the middle of the park, I just don’t like it. And I agree, once Tierney and Bellerin get up to full speed, he’ll get a better sense and we’ll get a better sense of what his back four is. Having those two full-backs should help him, they should help him
2019 12 01 Retrieve
[Craig Burley on Henrik Larsson] I was lucky enough to play with Ruud Gullit, Gianfranco Zola and Gianluca Vialli, who all played in a similar position to Henrik. Mark Hughes was another at that time then I played with Fabrizio Ravanelli later in my career. But Henrik Larsson is absolutely in that bracket with all of those guys
They were super influential in football all over Europe and Larsson had a similar impact across the board – not just in Scotland. People were talking about Henrik all over the world
[That wasn’t the case initially after he and Burley were unveiled at Parkhead] I’d watched Henrik for Sweden and, as far as I was aware, he was a winger. I thought, ‘We’ve signed a good wide man here’
Eventually the younger guys at Celtic obviously looked up to Henrik but in the beginning there was a bit of that west-coast attitude of looking down your nose at a foreigner who’d just come in.For them, it was a case of: ‘Who are you? Show me something. It wasn’t until Henrik really took the bull by the horns that people gave him respect. And you could sense how good he was going to be as soon as Wim worked out what he wanted to do with him. You just knew because he was a very clever player in terms of his movement
The worst thing for a top-level midfielder is a striker who makes poor runs and bad decisions. The flip side is that their job is so much easier when they have a guy up front with clever movement. That was Larsson. I remember games where before the ball even got to me I could see him already making the run. All the top players I’ve mentioned had the same ability – to make YOUR mind up when you got the ball instead of the other way around. Henrik made it easier for me to play a pass because he had already made the run. For a midfield player that’s gold dust – because I saw the opposite from certain players over the years, who’d make you look like a fool. Certain strikers can make you look really bad. But Larsson had the ability to make you look good and that was just priceless
Maybe people don’t realise this but Henrik wasn’t the biggest guy, even though he was great in the air. I wouldn’t say he was skinny because that’s the wrong word but he wasn’t a big brute, a muscular guy. But his strength was incredible. It was uncanny, really, how he would use his body.
The other guy who was similar in that sense was Bergkamp at Arsenal. I remember playing against him for Chelsea and going in for this tussle with him. “I thought: ‘Fing hell, this guy’s as strong as an ox’. I expected to brush him off the ball but he had this ability to use his body so well and Larsson was the same. Centre-halves thought they were going to brush him aside but it was tougher than they thought
Henrik had the famous incident with Tosh McKinlay on the training pitch – but in a sense that galvanised everybody. For a few weeks early on, there was a them and us thing going on. It wasn’t bad or malicious but there was a clique. That wasn’t just Henrik, it was Regi Blinker and Marc Rieper, all of those boys. But after the Tosh incident everyone thought: ‘Wait a minute – we all need to be together here’. It got heated and passionate at times. I heard Henrik arguing with Wim at the top of his voice at one stage. He wouldn’t shirk from saying something in the dressing room. He wasn’t a shouter but if we weren’t playing well, particularly when the pressure was on at the end of the season – he would be well p*d off
Because it meant a lot to him, he was that type of guy. He was a winner and a top player. We drew a game at home to Hibs that season and there was a shot of Henrik coming off the pitch, taking his headband off, effing and blinding in his native language. But it was because he cared – and a lot of guys had the same attitude in that squad which is probably what got us over the line. He was just a normal guy. He was open, funny and interesting in the dressing room. And he was just able to harness an amazing ability to do what he did
2019 12 10 Retrieve
[Craig Burley on Former Derby manager Jim Smith dies at the age of 79] He is one of the greatest managerial characters that ever graced the English game
2020 01 27 Retrieve
[Craig Burley says Celtic fans wanted to KILL their players if they lost a game as they endeavoured to stop Rangers winning 10-in-a-row] No one could really understand the pressure we were under. The fans wanted to kill us if we lost a game. They were besotted with stopping Rangers and would remind us it was the most important f*cking season in the history of the club. If you couldn’t handle the pressure then it wasn’t a place for you. Luckily, we had players who thrived on it.
[His old club are looking to secure the mythical 10-in-a-row but Burley doesn’t feel the standard is as high as it was during his career] Let’s be honest, if you need to know anything about a player in Scottish football now, you’d have to go on Wikipedia. When I went to Celtic, I can’t tell you how good the quality was. Paul Gascoigne wasn’t getting regular game time for Rangers. You had Sergio Porrini going there from Juventus. When I turned up, people were saying ‘What the bloody hell have we signed him for?’
2020 02 17 Retrieve
[Craig Burley explains why ‘pressure’ on Frank Lampard could cost Chelsea against Man Utd] Better teams sometimes come at them and they’re defending, they win the ball back, and then they’re able to play that quick ball over the top. When they’re playing some of the poorer teams and it’s more 60/40 [possession] to United, they’ve got a shield in front of them of eight or nine bodies. They’ve not in general had the players to break those scenarios down often enough
“[They’ve not had] Pogba in there to find a pass, we’ve seen Juan Mata do it now and again. They’re going to have a Chelsea side that’s in front of them, they’re going to go at them, and it’s whether they can hit Chelsea on the counter with enough quality going the other way.
There’s a lot of pressure on Lampard as well. If this poor United side go to Stamford Bridge and win, and once again but Chelsea under pressure for the final Champions League spot, that’s going to pile more pressure on the Chelsea manager
If he [Lampard] doesn’t get them in this top five, which it looks like it’s going to be now for the Champions League, from the position they were in, there’s going to be a heck of a lot of questions on him. So this is not a one way street with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the manager in the other dugout is under a lot of pressure as well
2020 03 03 Retrieve
[Pundit advises Arsenal to bring in Man Utd target as Lacazette successor] What will Raul Jimenez give you? Experience but still at a good age, runs the channels, physical in the air, works hard when he’s not got the ball and scores goals
Bare in mind they have [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang and hopefully won’t lose him. But Lacazette’s frustrations are out there about not playing, he could go elsewhere. If you had Aubameyang on the left and a big physical presence through the middle, that would make sense to me.
I’m sure there are other options there for [Mikel] Arteta, but this guy … Arsenal sides through the years have been a bit soft, this guy’s not soft. He’s a physical player who scores goals in the Premier League. I’d have him in a heartbeat and I think Arteta would as well. He’s got a bit extra, he scores goals and he’s a winner. Good player