Former football stars Luis Garcia, Robbie Fowler and David May talked to reporters during the World Celebrity Pro-Am Golf Tournament:
Question: Today you all played with children here in China. What did you think of their performance and what advice do you have for their youth football development?
Garcia: It was a fantastic moment for us to join into a game with these young players from China. They did very,very good. We saw a few good players over there with good talent. The most important thing is that they want to play and that they enjoy the game. Football is growing very fast here in China and we can see the national team becoming a better and better program every year.
Fowler: To add to that the advice that we as players have to give to the kids is just to enjoy it, plenty of practice and enjoy it. If you love the game and you play as much as you can then you will become better. We saw a lot of kids yesterday who were very, very good. With practice, this infrastructure and the facilities, we will see much better teams in the future.
May: I agree with what Robbie and Luis said. The main thing is for children to go out and enjoy it – play with smiles on their faces. You could see yesterday that they really enjoyed it. As ex-professionals we look to the children because they are our future. It is important that they eat healthily and look after themselves and they do the right things. If they do that then they have a great chance of becoming professional footballers.
Question: Who is the best golfer? What kind of athlete makes the best golfer?
Fowler: The best golfer here on this stage is probably David (May). He is what we call in the UK a bandit, el banditio in Spanish, and in Chinese you’d probably call him a cheat. Only kidding – he probably has the best handicap. But in terms of what sport- if you are involved in any sport the competitive side comes out of you. You want to compete. You want to do well. People with the best ball to eye coordination probably make the best golfers.”
Question: Do you play golf a lot? Who is your favorite golfer?
May: I try to play once a week. With having two children and driving them around all week it gets a bit difficult. My favorite golfer… I quite like Andre Johnson, everyone calls him the Beef. He plays the way that golf should be played, with a smile on your face. He’s young and I think he is going to be a real talent in the future.
Question: The Chinese national team has just hired a new coach, Lippi. What are your thoughts on this? Is it a waste to hire such a high level coach?
Fowler: Whether you are the Chinese national team or an English national team, if you have a manager who is technically very good and will bring out the best in your players then you will develop your game. Marcello Lippi, his record in European football is fantastic. If there is any man who can bring out the best in the Chinese national team, it could be him. His record is very, very good. He has a record of bringing players through, of getting the best out of them and getting results. Hopefully the Chinese national team will develop under him.
Question: How do you think the match between Manchester United and Chelsea is going to go and will Rooney be a substitute?
May: I don’t know. I think right now the manager is being quite successful with the team. I think he will come back. He is a good player. He is a very good player. I think he has had a lot of unfair criticism. He is still the club captain and that will continue. As for the game against Chelsea, Jose is going to want to put one over Chelsea for sure. Fingers crossed we can get three points because we need them. Liverpool is playing ever so well. Man City is playing ever so well. With these types of seasons you cannot afford to lose five or six games. It is important that we go there are get something out of the game.
Question: Do you think Liverpool, this season, can get back the Premier League title?
May: They can’t get it back because they never had it.
Garcia: Liverpool is winning a lot of big games, but the most important thing is to win the games where the team is not playing well. That is what gives you the consistency that is needed to win the Premier League.
Fowler: They have had some excellent results and made some good points but it is the start of the season and I think they need to get the consistency, proving to people outside of the club that they can get results over a long period of time. They started the season very well but the consistency needs to improve.