Charlie Adam took a break from cleaning the oven to pick out the best XI teammates from his career – and it would surely be a side capable of challenging for the Premier League title.
The former Stoke City midfielder selected a side for BBC Radio Lancashire this afternoon that features players from Liverpool, Stoke and Blackpool in between picking out some of his favourite music, like Deacon Blue and Oasis.
Some from his time back at Glasgow Rangers can consider themselves very unlucky not to get in too.
“This was difficult,” he said. “I had a while to think about it – and then I still think I’ve forgotten a lot of players I should have put in, but I’m going to go with what I think.
“The back four would clean sheets. Some times these days you get managers who want to play out and make everything look pretty but this defence has still quality in it. Both full-backs can pass and cross. The centre-backs will head it and kick it and fight and scrap. That’s what I want from my centre-backs. They’re a good foundation for going forward.”
Charlie Adam’s best XI teammates
World class. The things he used to do with the ball, he was better than some outfield players. So good with his feet. Some of the saves he produced were incredible.
A top right back in his day at Liverpool and Chelsea, played for England at European Championships and World Cups.
A legend for Liverpool who probably never played enough for England with what he was – and old fashioned centre-half who wanted to defend rather than go and play.
Probably similar to Carragher. A guy who I think but for injuries could have played at the highest level. A very good player and still speak to him now.
He set the tone for everyone else in how we trained and played. He looked after himself every well, ultimate professional. He had a good career.
Nzonzi should have played at the highest level. I remember him being linked with Arsenal for a while and he would have suited them when he was at Stoke. He was mobile, athletic, had a presence at 6ft 2in, could dominate the play, good on the ball.
Probably had to add a few goals to his game but he was a terrific player to play alongside and a joy to watch when he could pick it up and drive past people, similar to Yaya Toure.
He was phenomenal. He could win a game out of nothing. He was a player who could drag a team out of nowhere into winning positions. I remember one night we played Everton in the cup and he scored a hat-trick and he just pulled the team along.
He was a wonderful player to watch, difficult to play against and incredible to play alongside.
He wouldn’t take second best. I was so nervous when I first went in because every pass I gave away I thought he’d be thinking, ‘Who’ve we signed here?’
But we still speak now and I know I could pick up the phone to ask him anything about playing or managing. A terrific player and on the path to being a good manager.
His career speaks for itself. Played for Manchester United and won five league titles. Had good experience, a good player on the pitch and a top guy in the dressing room. We actually played really well together at Stoke.
I’ve heard him say before that when he first went into the team at Man Utd he was playing right side of midfield and he just had to find a place for himself. But as his career went on he was able to demand more from players and set a level and a standard he did.
Unfortunately for him he picked up that illness that probably set him back three or four years. Who knows where his career could have taken him?
I’m not surprised by what he’s achieved at Man City. He’s world class. I’d say he was one of the top 10 players in the world right now. He went through a little sticky patch this season but only because his numbers last season were incredible.
Pep and also himself have taken his game to a different level.
When I saw him as a young kid he small and fragile, not like Jordon Ibe, who was powerful and could strong and run. Raheem was light but he could go both ways and he had that electric speed which was just phenomenal. He could stand you up one-v-one and go past you like you weren’t there.
Everybody said at the time, “£50m? Man City? It’s a lot of money!”
But look back now and it’s cheap. I was lucky enough to be on the same pitch as him at times.
He is similar to Nzonzi in that he probably could have gone and played at one of the top clubs. He was at Inter for a bit on loan but…
When he left Stoke he went to West Ham and they paid a lot of money for him. I knew he was a top player. He obviously went to China for other reasons but he should have stayed in the Premier League.
He had the physique, the power, the strength, the speed, he could score a goal out of nothing. I loved playing with him.
Yes, he was a bit stroppy at times but I’d have him in my team all day. Just give him the ball and watch him run at defenders and terrorise people. It was great to play just behind him – and he put a shift in for the team as well.
I remember days when him and Carragher would kick lumps out of each other. It was a battle and Carragher loved it and Suarez loved it. They would leave a bit on each other, never react in a way that was over the top. They both had each other’s back and would be at it every day.
His finishing was incredible. When I first went to Liverpool he might miss a few chances but over the next four or five years and then at Barcelona, just incredible.
He’s probably the best number nine in the world at the moment. He can isolate two centre-halves on his own. He can win you a game on his own, like a Gerrard can. He was just phenomenal.
And who just missed out?
Adam said: “Alan McGregor was terrific when I was a Rangers, Alan Hutton at right-back at Rangers and Scotland as well. Centre-backs, someone like David Weir, who was at the end of his career when I was at Rangers, was a model professional.
“Mikael Arteta was only 18 when he was at Rangers but he was frightening. You could see he was going to be a top player. Barry Ferguson, Glenn Whelan would definitely get in there if any had missed out but you can only pick 11.
“I had people like Peter Crouch and Michael Owen who I could have picked as well but those forwards were the three… if we were under a bit of pressure, their speed, power and ability to score goals would be frightening.”
And what has Charlie been up to in lockdown?
Now at Reading, he said: “I’m training on my own, which is tough – and I’m doing jobs aroudn the house which I probably would never have done. You know what it’s like with the wife I’ve got! I’ve been cleaning the drive, cleaning the patio and, this morning, I was cleaning the oven so it’s been tough!
“Home schooling is not going to be a future career. It’s difficult! It’s been a long time since I was at school. But you’ve got to do it and try to help out.”