TheFA.com talks to Trevor Steven who won 36 caps for England and was an FA Cup winner with Everton in 1984.
He won the FA Cup with Everton 20 years ago but is frustrated that David Moyes hasn’t been able to name a settled XI.
Trevor Steven was just 21 when he won the 1984 FA Cup with Everton in a 2-0 victory against Watford. He went on to win 36 England caps, featuring in the 1986 World Cup, and played club football in Scotland and France. He now runs a football agency and owns a retail business in Glasgow.
Then - How important was winning The FA Cup?
Undoubtedly, it was a breakthrough event for me. I was 21, had played just half-a-season and suddenly I was involved in the biggest game of the season, seen around the world. If I’d had a nightmare, who knows what would have happened but I contributed to our victory against Watford and that gave me the confidence to know I could succeed. It also made other people aware of me and of course Everton went on to win two Championships and the European Cup Winners' Cup.
Now - What is the difference between David Moyes’ Everton and the famous 1980s side when you played for Howard Kendall?
Howard’s philosophy was to always play his best team. Even when Kevin Richardson and Alan Harper did brilliant jobs as deputies, they would make way as soon as Kevin Sheedy for example was fit again and ready to come in.
We won the title in 1985 with only 14 players. Even when we had injuries in 1987 we used 23 players.
I am sure David Moyes would love to be in a position to name the same eleven week-in week-out. But he hasn’t had that luxury because of injuries.
Then - Everton were really struggling before they hit the jackpot. What clicked?
We’d been dismal in the early part of 1983/84, then suddenly the jigsaw fell into place. Andy Gray came, Peter Reid was fit to play and we had a stroke of luck when Adrian Heath scored a late equalising goal at Oxford. From then onwards, confidence grew and the turnaround was pretty miraculous really.
Then - Your international debut in 1985 came as a bit of a surprise...
There was a World Cup qualifier in Northern Ireland and I wasn’t even in the original squad. Bryan Robson got injured, so I was called up – and ended up in the side. It was a filthy night and a terrible game.
Ray Wilkins was our captain and Mark Hateley’s goal was the only meaningful action in the match.
It was a game that nobody will remember except me, because it was my England debut.
But it was an important result. It helped us to reach the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.
Now - Has all the chopping and changing effected Wayne Rooney?
I would love to see Wayne play regularly with the same centre-forward, to form a real partnership.
He was doing well with Kevin Campbell until Kevin got injured and since then the front two has been constantly changing. I think Wayne is best at the moment as a striker. Possibly he hasn’t got the experience to do a Paul Scholes role breaking from midfield, although that may come in the future.
Everton’s weak area I think is central midfield.They haven’t got a pair of players who can dictate the game; they need the sort of player like Nicky Butt. Franny Jeffers, for example, needs someone from midfield to put passes in. You can see the dilemma that exists there.
Then - England only started to play in the World Cup when the Everton contingent took over?
I wasn’t picked for the first two matches when England didn’t score. We needed to beat Poland in the third match and Bobby Robson made drastic changes – I came in, Peter Beardsley, Steve Hodge and Peter Reid, who was also at Everton.
Gary Lineker was an Everton player as well. He scored a hat-trick and Gary Stevens played too.
The match got Gary his move to Barcelona. The fact there were a few Everton players in the team was an indication of how well the club had been doing. A couple of years earlier none of us was anywhere near the England team.
Now - What do you do now?
After I came back from Marseille to Glasgow, I had five years at the club, of which two and a half were injury plagued. I went into football agency with a lawyer, who was a director of Dunfermline – a guy called Blair Morgan who is quite well-known and respected. I also have a childrens’ shoeshop in Glasgow called "Famous Feet" that my wife looks after.
Then - Why did you leave English football for Rangers and then Marseille?
I had the chance to go to Manchester United but at the time they weren’t as good as Everton and Alex Ferguson hadn’t won anything. They couldn’t offer European football either because of the ban, so I chose Rangers.
There were a few England team-mates like Terry Butcher and Chris Woods up there and I grew up just a couple of miles from the Scottish border, so it wasn’t that strange a move for me. My middle name is McGregor which gives you a clue to my heritage! In fact, growing up in Berwick was strange, because they kept changing the TV from English to Scottish.
One season you would get English telly with David Coleman commentating – then it would be Scottish football and Archie McPherson!
From Rangers, I went to Marseille which was a great experience. I learned the language and met my wife there as well.
Now - Do you think football finances will get worse before they get better?
Unfortunately, I think it’s going to get a lot worse, particularly in Scotland. I think semi-professional football will have to come to clubs in Scotland; you will be lucky to keep 10 SPL clubs alive.
Clubs no longer have local relationships with banks, so the financial institutions are far quicker to pull the plug. Hearts are having to sell their ground to stay alive, for example. Some SPL players are already only on £500 a week and the answer is that clubs will rely more and more on younger players who cost less money.
I don’t really work too much in Scotland - there aren’t enough players of the highest quality.
So although I am based in Glasgow, most of my time is spent around the Premiership and in Europe. The transfer window was pretty quiet for a lot of agents. We took the lad Stephen Crainie from Celtic to Southampton and Gavin Rae from Dundee to Rangers.
But overall there wasn’t that much doing.