“The only man we could find more unpopular than Gary Neville,” was how Jamie Carragher last night introduced his old Liverpool teammate, Craig Bellamy. For this week, his sidekick on Monday Night Football.
His future is in management, Bellamy assured us, ideally a start near home, in Cardiff. No pressure, Russell Slade.
He named Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez his player of the season so far, eulogised about Mark Hughes, backed Garry Monk, and was interesting on the changing role of strikers in the Premier League. He admitted he struggled to adjust to life at Anfield and warned that Mahrez’s team-mate Jamie Vardy will face a similar challenge if he moves to a bigger club.
“Teams coming to Anfield would sit back. I wanted to go in behind. But sometimes there wasn’t space. And if Jamie Vardy went elsewhere, I think he’d get the same problems.”
Bellamy traced a change in forward play to the arrival in England of Jose Mourinho and Didier Drogba.
“He came in and went 4-3-3. And everyone did. With a big, strong target man… a manager said to me at the time to be a modern day striker you have to be 6-foot-3, 6-foot-4, strong
“Everything I wasn’t. And the game shifted for me. That was a difficult time.”
At City, he realised he couldn’t dislodge the central strikers and consciously targeted Robinho’s position on the left wing, studying the game of wingers like Ribery and Arshavin.
Has he swotted up enough to take Neville’s position now? Ed Chamberlain did assure us Frank Lampard will be in next week.