When I left Liverpool after 11 years, they looked after me brilliantly. There were times when it was embarrassing not playing, but the club is still paying your wages. So, there are so many different aspects to leaving a club after a long time and especially when it comes to loyalty. I know I got loyalty in abundance from the club because they treated me so well.
I suppose because a lot of the lads were from the area, it was probably more difficult for them to leave than it was for me. But hypothetically, if you’ve got a situation where Liverpool wanted to sell me and Everton are going to offer me loads of money, would I have gone there?
I’m sure I would have done because I believe you’ve got to go, because you’ve got to remember when you retire nobody cares about you. That’s something my dad always said to me, you’ve got to get it while you can because no-one cares when you retire. It’s a fact.
But, it’s football; it’s a job at the end of the day. I look at some players and think would I have gone to Man United?
I would have loved to have played for Alex Ferguson. I can’t lie.
It must have been an incredible experience because of the way that he managed teams. Not all great teams won trophies and that’s the one thing I think of when I look back in my career, I didn’t win enough.
But, I certainly wouldn’t have swapped my time at Liverpool. I had the best time, I played with brilliant lads and great players. The only thing that was missing was the icing on the cake, which was medals.
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Jamie’s Italian Job
There were a couple of instances where I could have gone abroad to play. There was a time when I was 22 and Roma had a guy called Giuseppe Giannini, a really good player and cultured midfield player, someone that I really respected. He was known as ‘The Prince’ at the time for Roma and he was leaving.
Then they got in touch with Liverpool and my agents. I was a little bit nervous about it, but Liverpool said no at the time. I had 11 great years at Liverpool, but it would have been a great thing to do, to go abroad to play and learn another language. Chris Smalling is at Roma now for example, and I think ‘wow’, I’m kind of jealous of that.
I would have loved to have played abroad. It would have probably suited my game with the way they played in Italy back then. You can’t jog backwards, I know – but, I should have done it. You’re just happy with what you’ve got sometimes, and I was playing for a great club in Liverpool.
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