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Name Craig Burley
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Job xxxx Footballer
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Org xxxx National Team
Club as Player Celtic FC
  Derby County
  Chelsea 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

2020 05 01 Retrieve

[Craig Burley says Christian Pulisic should not be concerning himself with Chelsea’s links to Philippe Coutinho] The American public should stop worrying or American soccer fans should stop worrying about whoever’s going to sign for Chelsea. Because either Christian Pulisic, like every other player, is going to be good enough to hold down a place in the team no matter who they sign, or he’s not. It’s as simple as that really. You shouldn’t as a player worry about who is going to be coming in. You want better players to be coming in because I think when you play with better players, you play better yourself. And if you’re not playing, it’s because you’ve not shown you’re good enough or doing enough to get game time. It’s part and parcel of the job and I don’t think the young man will be worried about who Chelsea are going to be bringing in. I think he will be purely focused on, whenever the season restarts or when the next season starts, of showing Frank Lampard on a consistent basis the glimpses of what we saw in the last six months or so, which were pretty good

2020 05 07 Retrieve

[Craig Burley says Pedro would be a very good signing for somebody in Major League Soccer despite approaching his 33rd birthday] I think he’s good enough to play at a reasonable level, wherever that may be. At the end of the day, Chelsea are looking for younger players. They’ve got a number of players they can select in similar positions [to Pedro]. So I don’t think there’s any doubt that he’ll be one of the players who will be moving on. The other side of the coin is that he’s had a pretty lucky career with injuries, especially recently unless my memory serves me wrong. He still looks very fit and nimble and fast, which is a big attribute of his. When you look at Pedro, you don’t look at someone who has a bad attitude, you see someone who works hard and is a team player. When you put all those things together, he would be a very good signing for someone in Major League Soccer. Although he’s turning 33, he’s still got a lot to offer, and he’s a very hard-working player

2020 05 28 Retrieve

[Craig Burley says Christian Pulisic should expect to see his position at Chelsea come under threat from more new arrivals] I think Pulisic will play a big part for Chelsea next season but he will have competition for places. If Lampard’s Chelsea are going to challenge, and that’s a big if, are going to challenge Liverpool and Man City amongst others, they’re going to have to have a deep squad because the other two do have that. That’s something as a player you’ve got to take on the chin and you’ve got to rise to the occasion that if you have a couple of bad games, you might just be out of the team, rather than ‘Oh, I know I’m going to be in the team next week no matter how I play’. That’s not going to happen if you’re in the top three or four in the Premier League or any other big league around Europe or the world for the matter.

[on Jesus Corona] If you want to look at him and say ‘is he going to play potentially as a wing-back?’ Yeah, and Frank Lampard did do that on the odd occasion last year, primarily to get [Marcos] Alonso on the left side because he was better as a wing-back than a full-back. But then if he plays a back four most of the time, he’s covered down that right side. He’s got Cesar Azpilicueta who is the club captain and is very versatile, can play left-back, right-back and can play centre-back in a back three. Then you’ve got a young lad in Reece James who did very, very well for Chelsea last year coming in down that right-hand side. Big and powerful, loves to get forward, is learning the game, was very good in the final third with balls into the box. And then all the wingers, so I really don’t see this as a go-er.

2020 06 02 Retrieve

[Craig Burley claims Fierce competition for places at Liverpool could lead Timo Werner towards Chelsea] You want to back yourself as a player. You’ve got a manager in Klopp who will be very enthusiastic in trying to sell the platform to him. Clearly when I played, you played on the Saturday, you played on a Wednesday and expect to play the following Saturday if you played well enough. If you got told you were left out of the side, you knew it wasn’t for resting purposes, it was because you were dropped. The game has changed, you’ve got to have a deep squad and a quality squad. I think Klopp can sell to Timo Werner that Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah have carried the load for Liverpool, and they’re not going to play 50 or 60 games per year. I’m not surprised Chelsea would be interested, though, he ticks every box for them. He can play out wide, they’ve got wide players, he can play through the middle, he works hard, he presses when he’s not got the ball, it absolutely makes sense for him.

2020 06 04 Retrieve

[ex-Chelsea midfielder Craig Burley says Chelsea ready to pay Werner’s £54m release clause as they offer contract to Leipzig striker] I’m not surprised Chelsea would be interested, he ticks every box for them

2020 06 05 Retrieve

[The former Blaugrana star has also been previously been linked with a move to MLS and former Chelsea midfielder Craig Burley feels he could be a good addition for the North American competition] I think he’s good enough to play at a reasonable level, wherever that may be. At the end of the day, Chelsea are looking for younger players. They’ve got a number of players they can select in similar positions [to Pedro]. So I don’t think there’s any doubt that he’ll be one of the players who will be moving on. The other side of the coin is that he’s had a pretty lucky career with injuries, especially recently unless my memory serves me wrong. He still looks very fit and nimble and fast, which is a big attribute of his. When you look at Pedro, you don’t look at someone who has a bad attitude, you see someone who works hard and is a team player. When you put all those things together, he would be a very good signing for someone in Major League Soccer. Although he’s turning 33, he’s still got a lot to offer, and he’s a very hard-working player

2020 06 06 Retrieve

[Craig Burley says Chelsea must be considered serious title contenders for 2020-21 if they are able to add a big-money deal for Ben Chilwell] I think he [Lampard] showed enough last year to suggest that the players are responding to what he wants. Clearly now there is some confidence from the ownership because owners don’t spend money under managers that they’re not confident in. Ben Chilwell, I really, really like him. I looked at clubs in England that might need a left-back, I thought Man City who have got full-backs but are having a problem in that area might go for him. If Chelsea can get Ben Chilwell that would be a huge signing as well because he’s got unbelievable pace to get up and down that wing. When Lampard likes to play [Marcos] Alonso, it’s in a back three, he doesn’t like him as the full-back, he has to play [Cesar] Azpilicueta there, but he’s a right footer. Ben Chilwell will give them great balance down that left-hand side and if he can get those two signings on top of all those other players we’ve mentioned, Chelsea will be in the mix for it [the league title] next season, there’s not a doubt about it from me.

I think Liverpool clearly have the money but, as good as Timo Werner is and I think he’s a brilliant player, he was a non-essential player for Liverpool. So therefore with the restrictions and financial hit that clubs have taken, they’re only going to spend money if they absolutely need to. Now, Chelsea’s need was more because Tammy Abraham has done a fantastic job but he’s not a German international, he hasn’t got the quality or flexibility that Timo Werner brings. So he was an essential signing for Chelsea and I think that’s why they’ve pushed the boat out. [Roman] Abramovich has said ‘Okay, we’ll pay the release clause because we need this player, we want to get back to the top and he’s essential for us’.

2020 06 10 Retrieve

[Craig Burley says Signing Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen would be a statement of intent from Chelsea] You can’t have enough good players. It would be a statement of intent to go out and get one of Europe’s most exciting young talents. It does fit with the narrative that Chelsea and Lampard are going down. They are looking to sign younger players with sell-on value but who can also produce the goods now. If they get Werner, he can play wide or through the middle. Havertz is flexible as well. They may be a little top-heavy, in terms of their forward line. But it would be a statement from [Roman] Abramovich to say, ‘we’ve given you Werner and we also want Havertz, one of the brightest talents in European football’. That’s a very exciting sign for Chelsea fans, but I doubt they will be in that race alone because Havertz is probably on everybody’s radar.

2020 06 23 Retrieve

[Craig Burley says Frank Lampard is under pressure to deliver on Roman Abramovich’s expectations at Chelsea] Anyone who thinks they are going to get in this team because they might sell a few jerseys is living in cloud cuckoo land because Lampard knows he is under pressure to close that gap, get Chelsea back to the top. Abramovich will expect it, he’s gone out with the cheque book already and given him Timo Werner – one of the best forwards in European football – and he’ll expect results. None of that frontline, or any other player in the Chelsea team, will play next season or beyond unless they are deserving of a place in the starting XI. It’s as simple as that

Defensively they have looked a little bit iffy and when that happens you need to have a rock-solid goalkeeper behind you, and I don’t think that the Chelsea manager believes he has got that