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Jason McAteer

Friday, 13 November 2009

Jason McAteer
Former Irish international and former Premiership player.

Jason was born 18 June 1971 in England and is a former football player, who represented the Republic of Ireland at international level. He announced his retirement from professional football on 12 June 2007, His primary position was in centre midfield, though he was an able left winger and full back. During his career, McAteer played for five professional clubs: Bolton Wanderers, Liverpool, Blackburn Rovers, Sunderland and finally Tranmere Rovers.

Would you like to be playing tomorrow?
That's interesting, when you retire, you think that you don't have the urge to go out and train, well I didn't have anyway.. then last season, I was doing a bit of media work on a Liverpool/ Sunderland game, and when I was on the side of the pitch, I got the smell of the grass and everything came back to be - I would have loved to have been on the pitch playing. When you retire, all you have is memories, and playing for Ireland was the highlight of my career, so after that Liverpool Sunderland game last year, I realised who much I miss it..

Who should we look out for in the French team?

I would say that Henry is the player we should really watch.. He is really a class player and even though he is over 30, he still has a lot in the tank... he also scored an important goal against Ireland in Dublin, a few years back, so I would watch out for him. Frank Ribery is also dangerous, and even though they say, the he is injured, you never know..

How can we beat France?
Well I think that collectively the French team is not as strong as before, and overall they have not been playing very well also. They are also going through a transitional period so I think that they are not as strong as they used to be.. As a team, 'collectively', Ireland is a better unit. I also think that we need to get a result in Croke Park; we need a win, if possible.. Ireland are unbeaten during this qualifying so we can go to France also and get a result also, but we can do the job in Croker!..

You were at the Italy match in Croke park?
Yeah, I brought my son to the game with me. And before we went to the game, he had a bet for a 2-2 draw. When Ireland scored near the end, everybody jumped up, and then when Italy scored at the end, my son jumped up, everyone looked at him, he was delighted that he won the bet! (the game ended 2-2)

What do you think of Trapattoni as a manager?
When he came here first, I was concerned that he might not be able to get the collective spirit and the camaraderie that was there with previous managers. To be honest, I was a big fan of Terry Venables getting the job, I thought he would have been great. He (Trap) came in and he has taken over from Stan, who I also think has done a good job. I suppose you can't argue with Trap's results, he has done well to get us to this stage.

Looking back on the 2001 famous goal against Holland to help us qualify for the World Cup in 2002?
I have it on Sky plus all the time (Joking!). Actually it happened at a difficult time in my life. I was not in the Blackburn team and I was going through difficult time personally as well. The goal really is the highlight of my career.We had heard that Holland had actually booked their hotel in Japan and they thought that they were going to qualify.. It was a moment that really lifted my career.. That is the thing about sport and how it helps people when they are going through difficulty..

After that game Bono invited you to come on stage in Slane?
Yeah, it's actually a funny story.. Before the game John Aldridge called me and he said win lose or draw, we will go and organist a few pints out after the game, and we did.. Then Mick Byrne called me and he said that Bona had called him and wanted me to come on stage in Slane, I had to say sorry to him as I was going to meet John Aldridge for a few pints..

What do you think of the Andy Reid/Stephen Reid situation?
Well I think it could well be a bit of a gamble to bring Stephen Reid on the panel, as he had a long time off with injury.. If we qualify though, we should definitely have him on the plane to the World Cup.
I think that the Andy Reid situation is different.. he had a falling out with the manager and that hasn't been resolved yet, and is suppose that it is up to Trapattoni whether or not he should include him in the squad. it is a pity because he is a quality player - we could do with him..

What about the Stephen Ireland situation?
I think that this is really disappointing and I feel that he (Stephen Ireland) should be playing for his country, and it is disappointing that he is not. As I said, playing for Ireland has been the highlight of my career and I think that he is missing out on a lot.I hope that he doesn't live to regret it

What do you think of international football now and maybe when you played in the World Cup in 1994?
I suppose that international football has not changed that much. I would say that some of the smaller nations have got stronger and they are more difficult to beat. In 1994, when I was playing in the world cup, I didn't have to go through a qualifier game myself as I had joined the panel late, but when I went through the qualifier system after that, I relaised that it is a hard road - I supposed with the smaller nation getting better, it might be a little harder to go through the qualifying groups.

What have you been doing recently and what are your plans for the future?
Well I suppose I was disappointed that I and John (John Barnes - the other assistant manager) were let go at Tranmere Rovers( he worked briefly as an assistant manager with Tranmere Rovers, but got the sack recently). I felt that it was bit premature to be honest. I would have liked to have had more time there.

For the future, I am taking a bit of a break and I hope to do a lot of travelling and then concentrated on more media work with football. I hope to go to Vietnam soon. At the moment I am trying to take a bit of money off John Aldridge in a game of golf!
If a job comes up in management though, I would have to look at it

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