Ian Rush’s football could be compressed into one word - goals. Liverpool’s most prolific scorer with 346 goals, the
With 346 goals, is the leading scorer for the club during seasons 1980-1987 and 1988-1996.
He also holds the record for the most goals in a season with 47 in 1983-84. It won him Europe’s Golden boot award, the first British to win it
Played for Juventus for a season (1987-88)
Made his Welsh debut on 21 May 1980 against Scotland. Played regularly for the country scoring a record 28 goals in 73 games.
Like his fellow countryman Ryan Giggs, never played in the World Cup
European Cup winners
First Div 1981-84, ’85-86, ’89-90
FA Cup ’85-86, ’88-89, ’91-92
League Cup ’80-84, ’94-95
Welshman was one of the most feared strikers during his time with the Reds (1980-87 and 1988-96). A self-confessed Liverpool fan, “Rushie” (as he is fondly called) said he would choose Bill Shankly (the famous Liverpool manager) over Manchester United’s Sir Alex Ferguson “any day”. With the Reds back in the top four of the Premier League for the first time since October last year, there couldn’t have a better time to speak to the Liverpool legend. Excerpts
Can Fernando Torres break your goal-record?
Torres is a world-class striker. But getting past my record will take some beating. I played for Liverpool for 15 years and was lucky not to have any major injuries. Torres has the potential. If he stays injury-free and at the club for long, he can break my record.
Should Rafael Benitez stay or go?
Rafa should stay. Liverpool fans need to give him time. They should rally behind the manager and wait until the end of the season, and hope the club finishes in the top four.
What can be done to ensure Liverpool’s season is not as miserable as the current campaign?
Injuries have been a major worry so far. But with fully fit players, the team can beat any club in the world. Money also has to be invested. The owners have to ensure that funds are available in the summer so the manager can bolster the squad and bring in some depth.
Talk about your most memorable Liverpool moments.
The 2005 Champions League final against AC Milan, when the team was 0-3 down at half-time but came back to win on penalties. It was, indeed, the ‘Miracle of Istanbul’!
As a player, I have two favourites. One is the 1984 European Cup final that we won. To be playing AS Roma in Rome and then win the Cup, that was a big one!
The other would be the 1989 FA Cup final against Everton, a game we won 3-2 after extra-time. To win a final, and a derby, was incredible!
Was it correct to have taken away the captain’s armband from John Terry?
Yes, it was. The manager (Fabio Capello) made the right decision and he did it for the sake of the team.
Can England win the 2010 World Cup and lay to rest the curse of the ‘golden generation’?
England have a good chance, but I don’t think they can end up winning. Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard are the three most vital players in England’s plans. So they need to stay fit. Only goalkeeping seems to be a weak area. England need a reliable keeper for a balanced team.
Should Michael Owen and David Beckham be included in the squad?
I’d like to see Owen. He can change the game and has a knack of scoring that all-important winning goal. But I’m not very sure of Beckham and the sort of impact he could have.
What did you think of Owen’s move to United?
I think it’s a great move for him. United is the team of the moment. He’s a good friend and I’m happy for him. Benitez didn’t want him. And United had nothing to lose by buying him (he’s on a pay-as-you-play contract).
You are one of the best players who never made it to the World Cup (playing for Wales). Do you still live with that regret?
I regret it very much. I was lucky enough to play for Liverpool, but never made it to the biggest stage. I was speaking to Ryan Giggs (Manchester United, Wales) the other day and he also said the same thing – that it was his only regret.
Your team to lift the World Cup this time.
My favourites are Spain. Germany will also be hard to beat. Then Brazil do well in every World Cup.
Which are the players to look out for during the World Cup?
Torres and David Villa (Spain) form an incredible partnership. Opposition defences will have a tough time controlling them. Then, Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal). And Lionel Messi (Argentina), undoubtedly the best player in the world right now. It’s a joy to watch him play for Barcelona. He reminds me of Maradona.
Which players would you pick for your World Cup squad?
Oh, there are too many. Messi, Ronaldo, Rooney, Gerrard, Torres, Xavi – I’d pick almost all the Barca players!
Will you be going to the South Africa for the World Cup?
I’ll be there for the entire duration.
Which players do you look up to?
Pele, obviously. And Kenny Dalglish.
Who is currently the best manager in the Premiership?
Roy Hodgson (Fulham). The guy’s done a great job with the team he’s got, and with the limited resources at his disposal.
A Scot, an Italian, a French and a Spanish coach the big-name Premiership clubs. Where have all the English managers gone?
They just don’t get the accolades they deserve. I think Everton’s David Moyes (he’s a Scot) and Hodgson are two guys doing a great job. A British manager would never get the kind of chances that foreign ones get these days.
How would you rate Ferguson’s development as a manager?
When he started out, Alex was tough on his players. Now he has matured into an arm-around-the-shoulder manager. He has adapted over the years and is one of the main reasons behind United’s winning ways.
You played in both the Italian and English leagues. What is the difference in the playing styles?
The English play a very quick game over 90 minutes. Serie A has a ‘slow-slow-quick-quick’ pace. We played a defensive game at Juventus. But at Liverpool, I was told to attack and attack.
Would you take up coaching again sometime?
I’d never say no. I enjoy it and had a pretty eventful stint the last time (he worked as a manager with Chester City in 2004-05).