Vancouver Whitecaps legend Peter Beardsley took time to answer your questions this week.
The former England international gave his views on a variety of soccer matters during his recent visit to Vancouver.
The Whitecaps want to thank those who emailed their questions in for Beardsley. Below are a selection of questions that we asked the former Liverpool and Newcastle United star.
1) From Eric - Who would you pick to play in midfield for the England national team?
I would go for Steven Gerrard and Owen Hargreaves in the centre of midfield, with David Beckham on the right and Joe Cole on the left.
2) From Richard - You always had such an unusual dribbling style when running with the ball at your feet. It looked like you were stumbling and swerving, but it would completely fool the defender and you’d be quickly away. Where did you learn that type of ‘jinking’ style and could you describe what you were doing, so other players could learn those moves?
It sounds like a silly thing to say, but it was self-taught. In Newcastle in my day, you used to go around and play with a soccer ball all the time, so you would end up teaching yourself skills. It’s about spending time manipulating the ball, to be honest with you. It’s about practicing on your own and teaching yourself, so it is definitely possible for other players to learn those skills.
3) From Lisa - I would like to know how you determine your team's formation on the pitch - ie: 4-4-2 or 4-3-3, etc. Do you have a favourite formation and what are the merits?
I would certainly say 4-4-2 rather than 4-3-3. With the younger ages, not enough of them understand when they need to be in the opponent’s penalty box as three strikers in a 4-3-3. For example, if the left-sided striker has the ball, the right-sided striker is still out on the wing. I would even be tempted to play 4-4-1-1, if I had the right person to play in behind the front striker like a Teddy Sheringham, who has a brain to do both jobs in midfield and attack.
4) From Garnett - Did you ever do any training in Buxton, England, back in the 1980's?
I’ve never been to Buxton.
5) From Wolfgang - There seems to be a lot of discussion these days about players diving and simulating fouls. What are your thoughts about cleaning this up in soccer?
I really dislike diving, it drives me up the wall. It’s one of my pet peeves, to be honest with you, but I don’t know how we stop it. To be fair, there are occasions when it happens so quickly that you are unsure if the player has dived or if they haven’t.
6) From Elaine - How far do you think Newcastle United will get in the English Premier League standings this season?
In an ideal world, I hope they finish in a European place. I also hope manager Sam Allardyce gets a free season, in the respect that people don’t expect too much from him and the team. I certainly expect them to be in the top ten, but anything more than that would be a bonus.
7) From Elaine - Do you think Sunderland can stay in the Premier League or will they be relegated again?
I certainly don’t expect them to get relegated. I actually expect them to do well under manager Roy Keane. I think he has been a breath of fresh air and will do really well for Sunderland.
8) From Ryan - With the Whitecaps set to run an English Premier League pool this season. Which players do you think will have a breakout year in the EPL?
I think players like Owen Hargreaves at Manchester United will do really well, he’s a good addition for the Premier League. I would imagine they’ll be big things expected of Florent Malouda after he moved from Lyon in France to Chelsea. I also think the players that Manchester United have signed in Anderson and Nani will probably do well. There’s going to be a lot of exciting new players in the Premier League, so it’s something that a lot of people are looking forward to.
9) From Shaun - Do you remember almost drowning in Tampa Bay when you fell out of a boat in five feet of water! Have you learned to swim yet?
Yes, I have. I might have drowned a couple of times and my wife Sandra has saved me on those occasions, but I’m a bit more comfortable in the water now.
10) From Justin - Who was your favourite roommate on Whitecaps road trips and when you played for some of your other teams?
My old Liverpool teammate John Barnes would be my all-time favourite, but Dave Thomas was great to room with when I was in Vancouver, as I got on really well with Dave. The Whitecaps never really saw the best of him as a soccer player, but he was great to be around.
11) From Gary - Who were the real characters in the Whitecaps dressing room when you were here?
We had a few like Terry Yorath and Peter Lorimer that were old school. Buzz Parsons was really mad, but mad in a nice way. You could name anyone, as there were a lot of them. In them days, there was a lot of laughing and joking, so it was a lot more relaxed then. In the dressing rooms back home in England now, the humour won’t be the same because of the language barrier.
12) From Garnett - Would you consider playing in a Whitecaps alumni game?
I would without a doubt. The Whitecaps were a big thing in my career and I loved every minute of it.
13) From Kristina - What is your favorite Gatorade flavor?
Beardsley will be joining us again at Swangard Stadium on Thursday night, as the Whitecaps take on Puerto Rico Islanders in an important USL-1 clash. Wear your England, Liverpool, Newcastle United, Everton, or Whitecaps jersey for a chance to win prizes in a fun contest-filled evening sponsored by Gatorade and Overwaitea Save-on-Foods.