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Name John Giles
Gender Male
Ethnic Irish
Job Irish Footballer
Descs Connoisseurs of nastiness salute the gifted Irish midfielder as the pick of Leeds’ 1970s side. QPR’s Stan Bowles said of him - ‘He was a bit tasty and sly with it. He’d wait until the ball had gone and kick you one. When Chopper Harris took your legs from under you at least he’d be up front about it’


Org Ireland National Team
Club as Coach Manchester United
  Leeds United
  West Bromwich Albion
  Philadelphia Fury
  Shamrock Rovers

2007 11 13 Retrieve

[John Giles eulogises Liverpool’s hunger during the 8-0 win over Besiktas] It’s funny how teams play differently when they’re three or 4-0 up. Everyone wants to eat the ball at that stage

2010 01 01 Retrieve

[In a 2010 interview he said he did not take personal satisfaction from his ability when he was young and added] That was my driving force in football. I wanted to finish my career and say that I had made the most of this gift that I had been given

2012 05 07 Retrieve

[Ireland legend John Giles expects James McClean to be named in Euro 2012 squad] I’d be surprised if he doesn’t pick him [McClean]. Let’s remember that it’s a squad of 23, it’s a big enough squad. I’d be very surprised if he’s not in that squad today.

[As for the other squad places, Giles suggested that there would be no real wild-cards and that Trapattoni would probably stick to his tried and tested charges] I don’t expect any surprises. He’s [Trapattoni] on record as saying he wants to stick with the players that got him there

2016 12 08s Retrieve

[The former Manchester United, Leeds and West Brom man has shared his thoughts on the German manager’s gung-ho tactics at Anfield] I said a few times this season that I thought he was a one-trick pony and that there will be games like Bournemouth when everything goes wrong. There will be many days when everything goes right and my feeling remains that there could be enough of them to win a title for Liverpool. But I have to say, if I was in that Liverpool squad now, I would be maddened by the way he wants to play because I see no balance, nothing to lean on when the wheels come off and they concede soft goals

With Klopp, it’s all about the front foot, all about forward momentum and if anything interrupts the process, he wants nothing else from his players than for them to push on and try for another goal. There is no alternative. It’s an all-or-nothing approach.

That’s why his two full-backs were far away from the play at the wrong end of the pitch for a couple of Bournemouth’s goals. That’s why he brought Adam Lalana into the game at 3-1 when other managers might have considered a steadying presence

Not Klopp. He wants none of that. It’s go, go, go all the time and while it produces some breath-taking football and can completely overwhelm other teams, it carries at its heart an obvious weakness. In the Bournemouth game, there were opportunities for Klopp’s team to ease back and take full control of the game with the lead they had.

On two occasions, they had a two-goal lead and with that established, had won a position where a balanced team would take a moment to take stock, tighten everything up and see out the game. That usually happens in midfield when someone gets his foot on the ball and sets the pace of the game.

There is no alternative. It’s an all-or-nothing approach. I’m sure the players think it’s fantastic and I’m not being facetious about that.

2019 04 26 Retrieve

[Johnny Giles says Pogba wouldn’t sleep if Keane was boss and Fred is lazy] If Keane was managing Pogba, he’d never sleep. You don’t make excuses for players not having it in them. What he didn’t have in him was an effort to run back. That’s a given as a player. The fact is Fred messed up because he was lazy and not doing what he should be doing

[Giles also believes that Keane was right to call out former team-mate Neville on a number of other issues] What Roy Keane was alluding to was the things that he did when he was a player. I thought Keane was brilliant in his analysis and actually tore Neville to bits.

What Neville was saying didn’t make sense to me. Neville made a case that the way City play, they tire out [opponents]. Well, that’s nonsense to be quite honest. I think it’s nonsense. You don’t get tired with half-an-hour or more to go

2019 07 02 Retrieve

[Johnny Giles says Roy Keane would do a better job than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United] I’d put my money on him [Keane] at Manchester United before Solskjaer. When you look at the summer, in Solskjaer’s case, it’s all about the backroom staff, he’s not mentioned in it. He should be picking the backroom staff, he should be picking the players. He should be dominant at the moment to get this thing right for next season. There’s still a lot of talk. Is Rio Ferdinand going to come in now as a director of coaching or director of football? There’s all that stuff going on at Manchester United at the moment. And Solskjaer hasn’t been mentioned. I honestly think if Roy Keane went to Manchester United now he would do a better job than Solskjaer with what’s needed now. They might need that type of thing.

2020 04 02 Retrieve

[John Giles picks his all-time Tottenham Hotspur XI] I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. Pat Jennings was one of the great goalkeepers. He had great ability and great control. The best goalkeeper of that generation. A very calm fella off the pitch and he carried that onto the pitch. He just knew what he was doing and he was a top class ‘keeper with a great temperament.

I played against Steve Perryman a lot as a midfield player. He wasn’t outstanding there. [But] he moved to right-back later on and I think he was the best around. A real Spurs man

Mike England was a very, very good player. Nine years he was there, a top class player

When Ledley King played, he played. He had a lot of injuries but he was a brilliant player. When he played you’d never think he’d had an injury. He had a great attitude and I thought that when he played he was a terrific player

Chris Hughton got on with the job, no fuss. He could really play and get the job done. He’d get on the ball, use the ball and defend well. A quiet lad, but very, very intelligent

I know that Danny Blanchflower was very influential with that great team he was in. I made my debut against him. He made a comment after and I didn’t know if he was joking: ‘I didn’t do as well as you on my debut.’ He was being nice, but they’d just beaten us 5-1. A terrific player and a great leader, he’d be a sort of attacking midfield player now and we’d know him as a creative player and he was very good at it

I have to apologise to John White, Ossie Ardiles and Luka Modric but Dave McKay was the best of them all. He was one of the greats and could do everything. He would be better then any of the others we’re talking about. I spoke to him at Billy Bremner’s funeral, and Billy had idolised Dave McKay

I don’t think Glenn Hoddle was a great player but he was a terrific player for a number of years for Spurs when they didn’t have a great team. He was a very gifted lad, but he wasn’t quick and if he was having a good time with Spurs, people would put a close marker on him and he couldn’t get rid of the marker. That was him, that’s why opinions were divided. He played 53 matches for England and he was still sort of only promising at the end of it. He was a huge player for Spurs though

A real winger, not too big, but Cliff Jones scored a lot of goals he had great pace and was so courageous. One of the greats, in my opinion.

Jimmy Greaves is a genius. the best goalscorer, one of the best ever and certainly the best in his day

I think Harry Keane would get in to any great Spurs team and if he keeps his fitness, he has the right attitude to be one of the greats

[Paul Gascoigne is another who could be in the discussion of an all-time Spurs XI] He had all the ability in the world but he didn’t handle himself well. He was a wild boy but with the gift that he had he should have been one of the greats and he wasn’t

2020 04 17 Retrieve

[Johnny Giles said the hard-man image of Norman Hunter was slightly misleading] Norman was one of the best professionals I ever played with or against. A top-class individual and one of the most humble people you could ever meet. He was always grateful for what football had given him

2020 05 08 Retrieve

[Manchester United legend Johnny Giles says Fernandes nowhere near Scholes & never will be] It does bother me when I hear people talking about Fernandes being the next Scholes and the perfect midfield player. That is not the case. He is ­nowhere near Scholes and never will be. ­People at the club will be kidding themselves if they believe he is going to do what Scholes did. He doesn’t play anywhere near the way Scholes played, even in a ­positional sense. Scholes was one of the best midfielders I have seen who could connect the team from back to front. He was the best I have seen at that for a long time, especially when he was playing with Roy Keane, David Beckham, and Ryan Giggs. He was the one who knitted it all together, and was one of the great ­midfield players, so I don’t think ­Fernandes is a Scholes. Fernandes is a goalscoring midfield player. He should be an asset to the club, but not in the way he is being described at the moment. He will be more like a ­Lampard as, every time I see him, he always has a good shot on him and good ability. He will be a goalscoring midfield player and there is nothing wrong with that. ­Scoring goals and making goals makes him an asset – but he won’t initiate.

[on Jack Grealish] Grealish would be more likely to do a Scholes for Manchester United than Fernandes. He plays on one side or the other for Villa, but I would like to see him playing in the ­middle. His control is good, he goes past people, and uses the ball well. He and Fernandes would be chalk and cheese in the way they play. So, Grealish could be coming from a deep ­position, and ­picking it up from the back four, and Fernandes would need that to pick him out. Fernandes is not going to be picking anyone out from the back. He needs the ball to get to him, then he can do what he is best at

2020 05 16 Retrieve

[Former Whites midfielder Johnny Giles spent 12 years at Leeds with Hunter from 1963 until 1975 and the Irishman applauded United’s moves to honour Hunter by renaming the South Stand] If anyone deserves a stand named after him, he does. What was often lost was he didn’t get too much credit for his footballing abilities. Norman Hunter could really play. When I played with him and was 40 yards away he would get it on his left foot and you would get it straight to your feet if the ball was on. He played at the same time as the great Bobby Moore but he still got 28 caps for England. Leeds had a reputation for being a tough team but so were all the other teams. You look back at the 60s and 70s and there was grievous bodily harm and you wouldn’t get a yellow card

[Giles also says the former players from that era’s Whites side will arrange a get together to honour Hunter and Cherry when safe to do so] It is very sad. And it is very difficult because at the moment we can’t do anything. I was in touch with the lads and when this calms down we will have a night out in memory in Leeds and get together