I left Spurs for Stoke on deadline day and it was one of the maddest experiences of my life. That morning I was a Tottenham player and had no thought in the world I’d be leaving.
But by 10pm that night I was in the Stoke training ground having a curry with Tony Pulis and Cameron Jerome and there were hundreds of Stoke fans there outside in the dark waiting for me to sign.
It was all very sudden and completely out of the blue
One day you feel like you’re settled in a place and the next evening you realise you’re living somewhere else for the next three or four years. It was very funny and strange trying to explain to Abbey that I’d gone to work this morning in London but now we’re moving to Stoke.
We did finally get the deal sorted just before midnight – after the curry. It was so surreal and an amazing experience.
Keeping Gordon so important for Everton
Everton couldn’t afford to lose Anthony Gordon this week. After selling Richarlison, who was pretty much guaranteed to get you double-figures in goals every season, there was no way they could let him go too.
It means there’s huge pressure on his shoulders now, especially when you look at the figures mentioned – £60million! Though I wonder if a lot of that is just talk. If there had been an official bid it might’ve been too good to turn down, but doing so could also mean losing your place in the Premier League.
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Everton struggled last year and they could be struggling again after losing one of their main goal threats. It’s hard to say they’ve improved up front since last season.
This is a tough spot for Frank Lampard. He’s brought in a few good players but I think he’d have liked more. The two centre-halves, Conor Coady and James Tarkowski, are good, solid Premier League defenders and good characters to have in a dressing room, they’ll be up for the challenge there.
But they are going to struggle for goals and creativity, that’s why keeping Gordon was so important. There are huge expectations around him, but he has so much potential too.
I’d bet on Gerrard to get it right at Villa
Steven Gerrard is going to come under pressure now at Aston Villa. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done in the past, if you lose games at the start of the season you’re going to have to deal with it.
He knows that and you saw in his interview the other day that he knows he faces a challenge. Knowing him the way I do though you’d certainly bet on him to turn it around.
It’s been the case at Villa for a long time – even since I was there – that the manager needs to manage expectations as well as the team. There are huge expectations for the club and it’s a huge city with a lot of people interested in the team.
They’re the biggest club in England’s second city so there’s going to be a lot of focus on the job. When you look at Manchester and the success the clubs from there have had, Villa’s success has been a long time coming and it has been very difficult to manage.
I’ve been at the club, it’s a hotbed for football. When things are going right it’s unbelievable up there, but when things are going badly it can be a very tough place to play.
Haaland becoming my favourite ever Prem player
Erling Haaland – Oh my God! Honestly, he’s turning into one of my favourite players I’ve ever seen play in the Premier League already.
I love the way he plays. He just runs over people.
He’s like nothing we’ve ever seen before and I have to give a shout out to my mate Mikey who said he’d be flop when I said he’d bang in 30 goals before Christmas. I think he’s more on course for that than Mikey’s prediction so far!
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