‘Back in my day…’ is usually the point at which we switch off.
But at the launch of Dream Team 2017/18 (sign up here if you haven’t already) we all perked up when Harry Redknapp, Ian Wright and Alan Shearer started to reminisce.
The topic of conversation was the art of defending.
In the last three years the transfer record has been broken several times, having not been broken since Rio Ferdinand moved to Man United for £30million in 2002.
David Luiz, who joined PSG in 2014, as well as John Stones, Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy, both of whom moved to Man City, all demanded bigger transfer fees than Ferdinand.
So do Messrs Wright and Shearer, who made a living out of embarrassing defenders, think the standard of defending has improved in the Premier League since they retired?
Shearer said: “Defenders nowadays are nowhere near the standard of Tony Adams, Rio Ferdinand, Jaap Stam, Steve Bruce, Martin Keown, Steve Bould and Des Walker.
“You’re lucky if you can name a handful in today’s game. Toby Alderweireld is probably the best that there is around.
Wright agreed, adding: “Victor Lindelof costs £31mil but he didn’t at any stage look around during Real Madrid’s opening goal the other night.
“We are talking about someone who plays for United and his awareness of an opposing player is zero. When I was playing that was the dream.
“Nowadays defenders do a lot of ball watching. You look at David Luiz but he had Nemanja Matic and N’Golo Kante marking him.
“If he played in a different system I would have loved to play against him.”
The conversation then turned to a man who is still playing, although he was forced to drop down a division, in John Terry.
Redknapp said: “What a captain. What a leader. We tried everything to get him to Birmingham. I was surprised a Premier League club didn’t jump for him.
“What a player he would have been at Arsenal. He’s exactly what they need.”
Wright also praised Terry, saying: “He is sometimes judged on things that aren’t anything to do with football,
“But if you’re talking about centre-halves we’ve produced in England, he’s easily in the top three.”
Terry in an Arsenal kit? How would that have made you feel Chelsea fans?
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