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You must support your national team

india Updated: Jul 18, 2011 01:00 IST
Tomojit Basu

Any football enthusiast would be as familiar with Liverpool legend Ian Rush as with his contemporaries, Diego Maradona and Michel Platini. The Welsh No.7, who led from the front during his two stints at Anfield through the 80s and early 90s, also remains the 119-year-old club's all-time top-scorer with 346 goals and FA Cup's highest goalscorer of the 20th century. The 49-year-old, now an ambassador for the club, had a lengthy chat with HT on Saturday.

Will Liverpool be able to win the Premiership this season?
(laughs) I've been saying that 'this season will be the one' since 1990! Last season we finished sixth and I thought it was a great result given how poorly we began. Realistically, we should be hunting for a Champions League berth.

Many new midfielders are coming to Anfield this season…
I don't see it as a problem because I'm sure the manager knows what he's doing and he'll know exactly how to iron out the combinations. In fact, with so much talent on board now, it's a nice problem to have!

Having been a prolific striker yourself, which forward in modern game has impressed you?
Messi is untouchable and at times it looks like he can win games for Barca on his own. But David Villa's on top of my list, the way he's performed for both club and country.

The best moment of your career?
It has to be the 1986 FA Cup final against Everton. I got two goals and to score at that stage was a dream come true. To win the League along with the Cup that season was great.

Your thoughts on Kenny Dalglish...
With Kenny around, there's always optimism. I loved being on the pitch with him and he is now a fantastic coach. He's won it for us before and I'm hoping to see him do the same this season.

Why has football taken so long to develop in this region?
It's sad that this region, south and south-east Asia, has not managed to lift its game. Players from these parts are technically gifted but lack mental strength. You look at other Asian countries, South Korea and Japan. They are great sides and have that mental quotient in place.

Finally, a message for the Liverpool and Ian Rush fans back in India?
(laughs) I'm surprised people still remember me. It's great that they are behind the club and I don't think many realize what it means to Liverpool. That said, I hope that they follow the national team as enthusiastically. I've always wanted to come to India and you can expect me there next year and the club by 2013.