Former England star Russell Osman names the player he regards as England best centre-half.
THEN AND NOW: Terry Butcher’s legendary defensive partner Russell Osman names the player he currently regards as England best centre-half
Russell Osman formed a famous defensive partnership with Terry Butcher in the 1980s, helping Bobby Robson’s Ipswich Town win the UEFA Cup and winning.
Eleven England caps along the way. After helping Bristol Rovers beat relegation last season, he is currently running a Soccer Academy and doing television work while looking for a new job in management.
Then - What is the best piece of advice Bobby Robson ever gave you?
As a youngster, I would charge around the pitch looking to get involved whenever I could. Bobby used to say ‘did you ever see Bobby Moore sweat?’
Basically he was trying to get me to use my brains more.
He thought the less a centre-half had to do, the better he was because it meant he was able to read the game properly. The advice served me well.
Now - Sven is spoilt for choice with central defenders at the moment. Who is your favourite?
I think I would have to go with Sol Campbell. Not only is he a very powerful fellow, he reads the game well and has that bit of pace when it’s needed.
He is a very dominant, commanding defender and being quick off the mark gives him that something extra. Everything you want in a centre-half really.
Then - How did your partnership with Terry Butcher work?
In simple terms, he used to pick up the big striker and I would take the quick one!
If we were playing Coventry City for example, Butch would look after Mick Ferguson who was good in the air and I would stay with David Speedie who was quick off the mark.
Terry and I were the most successful defensive partnership at club level, it was a disappointment that I only managed to play twice with him for England.
Now - Can Joe Royle take Ipswich up to the Premiership this season?
I think Joe is a good manager, he really knows his stuff. It’s a good club and I hope they can do it. Any promoted side needs goals and there is a big responsibility on Darren Bent.
I suppose if there is one question-mark, is where the goals will come form if he gets injured. They will need others to fill in.
I live in Bristol so don’t get the chance to see Ipswich all that often but I’ve been invited as a guest at another of my old clubs Leicester for their game with Ipswich on 19 October, so it will be good to catch up with everyone then.
Then - Ipswich were one of the top sides in the early '80s but didn't win the title. Did that hurt?
We should have won it twice really. I remember one season losing 2-1 up at Middlesbrough, it shouldn’t have happened.
In 1980/81 we were going for the Treble and I think the amount of games just caught up with us in the end. We won the UEFA Cup but lost in the FA Cup semi-finals and were pipped to the championship by Aston Villa.
We played 66 games that season and I think Villa played something like 46. I think it caught up with us right at the end of the season.
Now - What does Russell Osman do these days?
Last season, I was in charge of Bristol Rovers for eight games at the end of the season while they were between managers.
They were in a bit of a muddle at the time and staring relegation to the Conference in the face but we managed to avoid that.
Ian Atkins had already been promised the job for this season so at the moment I am doing TV work for local stations and Eurosport, analysing European football. I am also involved with a football Academy coaching kids.
I would like to get back into management and apply for jobs when they come up in the area. I was manager of Bristol City a few years ago and was doing well but the Board changed and the new guys wanted to bring in Joe Jordan.
Then - Which England memory stands out?
It was a bit of a transitional period for England at the time so the most famous games are probably famous for the wrong reasons.
Making my debut in Australia was great but I was also part of the team that lost 2-1 in Norway, remember "Maggie Thatcher, your boys took one hell of a beating!" My final cap was against Denmark in 1984.
We lost 1-0 but Bobby Robson, who had become the manager, said it had been my best performance in an England shirt. Then he never picked me again!
Now - Having watched plenty of European football, can an English team win the Champions league this season?
There are some great European sides out there but I think our teams could have a chance; it would be nice to see Arsenal finally do it.
They have worked out how to play against Premier League teams but so far they haven’t played with the same fluidity in Europe.
Maybe it’s because the best European sides are more tactically aware than Premiership clubs. I watch a lot of Serie A for Eurosport.
I have been impressed with Inter Milan, Seba Veron is looking good in midfield with Edgar Davids and Adriano has been in top form. Christian Vieri has been struggling for goals so far but that can change with a player of his quality.