After his arrival Sunday morning, former Manchester United footballer Teddy Sheringham came to the Bangabandhu National Stadium during the second half of the Bangladesh Premier League match between Bangladesh Muktijoddha Sangsad Krira Chakra and Brothers Union. He watched the rest of the game before talking to the media at the lounge of the VIP box. It was his first ever visit to Bangladesh. He is scheduled to leave here for Kolkata Monday morning.
Following are excerpts of his conversation with the media:
You have come to Bangladesh for the first time. How did it all happen? Did your son invite you here?
(Laughs). Yes, of course. He has been here few weeks now and he said, come across when you can. There's a break in our game, we played on the 7th (of December) and we don't have game till the 17th. So it worked out right that I could come across. But I have to go back straightaway for the training (Monday) morning.
Can we expect to see you more often in Dhaka?
You never know. Charlie is here for the season and I like to watch him as much as I can. It worked out great for me to come this weekend. I'm not sure what I would do every weekend but I will try to come across and watch him.
Did you watch any BPL game before?
No, I’ve seen Charlie’s first goal. I haven’t seen his second goal yet, but his first goal was nice and I heard the second was good as well.
Were you surprised to see your son come here and play in Bangladesh?
I was very surprised that he came. I’m in Kolkata and he’s in Bangladesh, a year after we were both in London. And now we’re maybe 350kms apart and I think he would have done it whether I was here or not. It’s a great opportunity for him as well to come out here and make a name for himself and who knows where that leads. He wants to keep playing for the next four or five years. I’m having a fantastic time in Kolkata and I hope he does well here.
What is your take on Charlie's career?
I’m very proud of the way he’s conducted himself and what he’s done in his career. It might not be extravagant but it's not about comparing my career to his or anything like that. It was tough time and he has gone through it. He's done well to get where he is and I’m very proud that he’s come out to Bangladesh and try his luck out here because it’s not easy to do that and a lot of people would have shied away from that. He’s come out here and put his neck on the line and I hope it works out well.
If the Bangladesh team or any club offer you a job, will you take it?
You never know. I’m managing in Kolkata in India at the moment. If you’d asked me a year ago would I be managing in Kolkata, I’d say probably no. But football’s a funny game and you never know what’s going to happen next week, let alone next year.
You have scored many goals in your career. Which goal do you remember fondly?
People always ask me about the 1999 Champions League final. I get asked about that on average at least once a day. That was 17-18 years ago now.
How are you enjoying your career as coach?
I’m really enjoying it. Things haven’t gone fantastic in the first four games of the ISL season. I’m enjoying being a coach. I'm enjoying coaching the Indian boys and the foreign boys and it’s been a fantastic experience in Kolkata. Myself and my staff have loved every minute of experiencing the good and the bad of Kolkata. Experience is the right word for it.
You played at the top stage of world football. What ideas do you have about sub-continent football and how do you evaluate Indian football?
Sub-continent football, no. It’s funny when you’re trying to get into management, you look at what sort of level you’ll try to be playing at. I wouldn’t look elsewhere but after coming across to India I see they have it right with five foreigners per team. I think it educates the Indian players, and they can educate the foreign boys as well. But the idea is to make the Indian players better and the league better and ultimately the India national team better.
When you were a player at United, you mostly played under Sir Alex Ferguson. Now you are a coach. Have you picked up any ideas from him?
I’ve played under very, very good managers and great coaches on the way. Ferguson was just one of those. Obviously I wouldn’t try and emulate Sir Alex Ferguson. He had a different temperament to me. But I do look back and think about how Sir Alex would have dealt with this or dealt with that. I think that’s what happens to anyone. You look back on your experiences and learn from them. Not just Ferguson, but others that I have played under.
What do you think about the future of English football?
I think English football has been helped by all the foreigners that have come across but I think we have it wrong. We have too many foreigners playing and I think that’s hampered us in the national team. I think we need to cut that down so our young players can grow. I think we have it right with the youth team, with the U-17s, U-19s, etc, we’re doing quite well with them and that holds us in good stead in the future.
You have been in Kolkata for some time now. Have you learned any Bangla word?
I haven’t learnt yet. I have a hard enough time trying to communicate in English let alone Bangla.