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Name Graeme Souness
Gender Male
Nationality UK
Ethnic Scottish
Job Scottish Football Coach
  Newcastle United Manager
Desc Rewind three decades and Graeme Souness’ move to Sampdoria saw the club rise to a greater status in Italy. The Scot marshalled the midfield and dominated each game in his two years at Samp in the mid-80s. Unlike many of the Brits abroad, Souness lifted the Coppa Italia in his first season at the club with a win over AC Milan after he’d scored in the first-leg

Affiliation

Org Scotland National Team
Club as Coach Newcastle United
  Liverpool FC
Club as Player Liverpool FC

2016 03 24 Retrieve

[on Alan Shearer] In my opinion, Alan Shearer is the greatest English centre-forward there has ever been without a shadow of a doubt; he’s a very, very special player. He makes average balls into great balls. He’s the scorer of every type of goal going. He plays the centre forward role in the hardest possible fashion where he generally has his back against where he wants to be going against men who are generally a lot bigger than him. He is not the biggest guy and people would be surprised if they met him in the street at the size of him

2019 08 11 Retrieve

[Graeme Souness names Newcastle United as his most difficult job as he criticises local coverage] It’s a very, very difficult job. Newcastle has been a difficult club to manage for a long, long time. Rafa Benitez managed to calm the waters when he was there but for every other manager in recent history it’s been a difficult job

There is a frustration at Newcastle because they feel they should be so much better. Fifty-thousand people every week, they are a big football club. I had eight jobs and that was the most difficult one I ever had. Matt Ritchie touched on it with an interview this week, saying everyone has to row in the same direction. The job is hard enough when everyone is pulling in the same direction

I got the job, the local press man was an absolute fool, I can’t remember his name. He was proud to say he got the last four managers sacked. That’s a local newspaper, they should be promoting the football club not damaging it at every opportunity. There’s factors up there who are constantly looking to get a cheap headline, make life difficult for the football club and make life difficult for the players, You have to be a big personality to perform at Newcastle

2019 01 10 Retrieve

[Souness remembered Sampdoria as a welcoming club] We had a great President in Paolo Mantovani and he treated everyone like his own son. It’s a lovely club in beautiful city. I was lucky enough to be there and I can honestly say it was one of the best times in my career

2019 11 17 Retrieve

[Graeme Souness praises Virgil van Dijk] He’s the best, for me. He’s faultless. He always seems to be in control in his arm chair. He borders on being faultless. He’s always got a brain that senses danger. I see him as an all-round centre half. I don’t think he goes to sleep or makes sloppy passes. He’ll beat you in the air

2019 11 20 Retrieve

[Jose Mourinho appointed new Tottenham manager] I have crossed swords with Jose many times in my career as a football pundit, recently I have got to work with him and his knowledge is exceptional, he understands our game. He is walking into a job in our game with no surprises, he knows what’s ahead of him, he knows the players he is playing against and will have a real grasp of the players he is working with.

He has won trophies wherever he’s been and I would expect him to do the same at Spurs. They’ve won something like two trophies in 28 years, for a big club, that’s just not good enough. They need someone who can turn what is perceived to be attacking attractive football into a slightly more pragmatic approach that will put some silverware in the boardroom. He is a perfect fit for them

2019 12 03 Retrieve

[Graeme Souness explains why Liverpool snubbed Eric Cantona transfer] We had played Auxerre at home [in November 1991] and Michel Platini came to see me. He said he had a player - a problem boy but a proper player. Cantona. I said the last thing I needed was another problem player. I had 30-pluses that I was trying to get out so I didn’t need more hassle. I said I was looking for something else. I said no thanks

[Graeme Souness recalls a time when former United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel asked to come on trial] Schmeichel wrote to me when I was at Liverpool in the early 1990s. Ron Yeats came into my office and told me there was a young Danish goalkeeper who was a Liverpool fan and was willing to pay his own travel and hotel in exchange for some time with us. But at the time I was trying to ease Brucey Grobbelaar out and that was proving a hassle. And I think I had just signed David James. So I thought I could do without it

2019 12 10 Retrieve

[The former Liverpool midfielder claims he would have loved to have lined up against the Blues duo Chelsea midfielders Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho] I think the midfield is lacking. I like Kante, we speak about him every time we see him about how good he is. But I think Kovacic and Jorginho border on five-a-side players.

If I’m a midfielder and I’m in the tunnel with Kovacic and Jorginho as my opponents, I’m licking my lips. I’d want to play against them. I wouldn’t want to play against Kante. I’d want to play against them

2019 12 21 Retrieve

[Graeme Souness believes Mikel Arteta is a big risk for Arsenal] Great risk. Coaching, being a very good coach, does not automatically qualify you to be a very good manager. They are two different jobs

I would suggest that Arsenal is a very different football club from the one I had when I was there. I would surely have been in the training camp with Pep all the time, so I would have learned from him there, but it’s just that the other everyday things with those that a manager has to deal with, of which he will not have a great experience

Whoever got the job at Arsenal would have had a very, very difficult job. Having chosen a manager who had never been a manager before is a very high risk. It will not be a quick fix at Arsenal, they are in trouble right now and they are not even close to where they should be. They are one of England’s great football clubs, but I would suggest they are quite bit that now

2020 02 02 Retrieve

[Sky pundit Graeme Souness has spoken in defence of City boss Pep Guardiola after Tottenham beat Manchester City] They’ve played well today. There’s not a lot wrong with them. He’ll be angry at Zinchenko’s first booking, Mahrez’s poor corner kick that led to the goal and the sending off

Otamendi for the second goal, just stay where you are. People do make mistakes, but they do make them and they don’t mean to

2020 04 05 Retrieve

[According to Graeme Souness, Jurgen Klopp is a great fit for Liverpool and has done a marvellous job at Anfield over the last five years] He is a great fit for Liverpool because he feels the emotion of the place. Liverpool is an extremely emotional football club, with its history, its tragedies. You get that emotion when you go to Anfield and hear You’ll Never Walk Alone. is the polar opposite of what Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan were. Bob didn’t speak a great deal. With Joe, you had to lean in to hear what he was saying. Jurgen is more like Bill Shankly, who was a great communicator, a showman and the leader of the pack. Bob didn’t want to be anywhere near the leader of the pack and neither did Joe. They were happy to be in the background rather than leading from the front. Jurgen is different, but he understands the club and he has done the most marvellous job

Mo Salah might score the most goals but it would be totally wrong to say this side’s attack is just about him. He’s one of three very special players. I love watching Roberto Firmino play. A couple of years ago, I likened him to Kenny Dalglish. He’s like a big cat walking through the jungle waiting for an opportunity to do damage. His radar is on all the time and he’s got a great football brain, whereas Salah and Sadio Mane, they will catch your eye more because they are direct and they score more goals. It’s so important to have those players, those goal-getters who can get you 25 in a season.

2020 04 09 Retrieve

[The Liverpool supporters’ animosity towards Souness has eased somewhat in recent years. The man himself is well aware that he made mistakes, admitting that he will regret the decision forever] I was blinded by my feelings for Liverpool. I expected my players to feel the same as me. But the world was changing. Players were expecting a shoulder to cry on. The players were holding more power than the manager. I wasn’t cute enough sometimes, or political enough

2020 05 02 Retrieve

[Graeme Souness also speaks of his friendship with Robinson] Michael was a very emotional man and he wouldn’t pick up the phone anymore to me. I was going to ring him last night, but I thought he may have gone to bed early. So I was going to ring him today. But now I don’t have the chance to speak to him

2020 06 25 Retrieve

[Another ex-Liverpool star, Graeme Souness, agrees that there is little to choose between the Reds and Blues] If you’re making a direct comparison between the two teams, they both have top goalkeepers, you’d rather have Liverpool’s back four and then City’s midfield, then toss a coin for the attackers. It’s a different type of football, both great to watch. But if you’re playing against Liverpool you have to be prepared to go to war with them. They want to bully you, get in your face and be really aggressive. The three midfield players, you wouldn’t describe any of them as silky, they’re all warrior types. They want to run over you. If you’re playing against City they want to play triangles and pass you to death. So they are different but they’re very special. Who would I rather watch? Liverpool [against Palace] were fantastic and, against Arsenal, City were fantastic. We’re enjoying a purple patch. I think these are two special teams in the time of the Premier League. These teams could dominate European football as well

2020 06 26 Retrieve

[Graeme Souness says a star-studded squad will be ‘angry’ at having not won more when at the peak of their powers] They won the Champions League last year and now they have won the Premier League title, but I still think Jurgen Klopp will look back at this period and feel they should have won more than two major trophies. Okay, there was the Club World Cup as well, but to have been so good and so consistent and yet only won two big trophies, I think the players have got to be a bit angry at themselves about that. The challenge for them now is to win the big trophies consistently and establish prolonged dominance like the Liverpool teams of the past. In five years, if they have dominated the Premier League, if they have dominated the Champions League, then they can be considered as good as any team Liverpool has ever had. But to become a legendary team, you’ve got to become serial winners

What I would say is that, given the ages of the players in that Liverpool squad now, given where they are, given the manager they’ve got and the structure in place around the team, they have the potential to go on and become serial winners. These players, especially the goalkeeper and the defenders, could play together for another five years easily. That is a great place to be in, knowing you’ve got that foundation. The signings they have made have been off the charts and Jurgen deserves huge credit for the work he has done

2020 06 27 Retrieve

[Roberto Firmino is as important to the Liverpool cause as Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane] Mo Salah might score the most goals but it would be totally wrong to say this side’s attack is just about him. He’s one of three very special players. I love watching Roberto Firmino play. A couple of years ago, I likened him to Kenny Dalglish. He’s like a big cat walking through the jungle waiting for an opportunity to do damage. His radar is on all the time and he’s got a great football brain, whereas Salah and Sadio Mane, they will catch your eye more because they are direct and they score more goals. They are a wonderful attacking unit, but it’s so important to have a really good defence because you can’t play super football in every single game you play

When it’s not going well, you need to know that you won’t be conceding goals. Then, if you’re on the back foot but you don’t concede, you know that at some point in the 90 minutes, one of your special players is going to create something for someone else or score himself. That’s what we had with Ian Rush. We would be under the cosh, we would clear our lines and a couple of passes later Rushy would be on the end of something, putting the ball in the net, and we would nick the game

Liverpool have that now with their attacking players and that’s what makes them so dangerous. Even when they are not at their very best, they defend well and they’re capable of nicking games. It’s so important to have those players, those goal-getters who can get you 25 in a season

2020 06 29 Retrieve

[How do Liverpool improve? How potentially record-breaking side can still get better] When we were the dominant team during my time as a player, every summer they spent money and brought players in. It was the Liverpool way. I’m thinking of Fabinho and Andy Robertson, they have bought players in the past that do not need to slot into the side straight away, or make an instant impression, and that’s a great place to be

2020 07 05 Retrieve

[Trent Alexander-Arnold: Liverpool right-back could play in midfield] I think the boy could play anywhere in midfield. He started out as a central midfield player and then saw an opening at right-back. You would be reluctant to take him away from where he is because a large part of Liverpool’s attacking play comes from him and [Andrew] Robertson. They have high energy levels, and when they get into the last third, they can deliver. Looking at it now, you’ve just won the league, you are the current European and world champions, so if it ain’t broken, why try to fix it? But the modern defender today, at the top clubs, has to be able to take the ball and play and deliver in the final third, so why not?

If you were to ask him, he would be more than happy to play in midfield because that is, I would say, his natural position. He gets more space in the wide areas and then you see the passing range that he has. But that passing range has obviously been built up over the years playing in central midfield. His decision-making probably comes from having less time when he was in central midfield. He’s had to be aware of what’s going on around him. It’s a different game in there. You are dodging bullets and elbows are up.

If he’s full-back, he knows nothing is coming [to his right] when he receives the ball. Full-back is a very different position and you get plenty of time there to have your first touch, get it out of your feet and get your head up. But he’s as good as anyone when he gets a chance to deliver.

2020 07 05b Retrieve

[Man of the match - Sadio Mane] 28 years old, fantastic attitude, he’s a warrior, it’d be faster to tell you what he hasn’t got - and I can’t think of anything. He’s aggressive with his attitude, he won’t be bullied

2020 07 05c Retrieve

[Graeme Souness on Jack Grealish: Do top teams carry passengers that stand with their hands on their hips?] He has got quality but do the top teams carry passengers when they don’t have the ball? No - they don’t have players that stand with their hands on their hips when they lose the ball. Everyone rolls their sleeves up to be the first, second or third one to press. That is something that is not in his game right now. I’m not denying he has talent - but for me there’s a big question mark

When I was a player, I wouldn’t want to be the most fouled player in the league. That means I’m holding onto the ball too long. That means I’m not seeing the picture early enough, I’m taking extra touches when I don’t need to. He has ability and he’s easy on the eye, silky on the eye. But, I am yet to be convinced by him

When I was being coached at Liverpool, I was told that I had to make the striker’s mind up with my body movement. I’m making them run where I’m looking to kick the ball. I think someone that gets fouled that much isn’t seeing the picture quick enough. As an old midfield player, would I have liked to play against him? I would have loved to have played against him. He allows me to get close to him, get physical with him. I don’t want to play Paul Scholes, Xavi or Andres Iniesta. They are too quick - they pop it off in one or two touches. I want to play against people like him - he would allow me to mess him around

2020 07 05d Retrieve

[Souness thinks Dean Smith has got a huge task on his hands to keep Villa up] I think it’s going to be very difficult for them looking at those games. I always come back to: do their opposition have things to play for? That’s the biggest criteria. Villa should be in the Premier League. I took my son to a game three years ago against Manchester United on a Friday night and he said to me ‘dad, this is a big football club’ - they should always be in the Premier League

It is a big football club. In my day they were league champions. Everything about them oozes Premier League and beyond, into European football. For whatever reason they’ve not been able to get a structure that is settled and maintained over the past couple of decades