Les Ferdinand

Les Ferdinand

Les Ferdinand is best known as a footballer playing for clubs such as Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur throughout his career.

But before he took up a football career he was a white van driver and now he has teamed up with Volkswagen to help change the opinion of the white van man.

- You are currently working on a new campaign with Volkswagen so can you tell me a little bit about it?

It’s a campaign that is trying to paint the white van driver in a much better light.  You are laughing already.

- Well he drove into me the bastard.

Yeah there are still a few dodgy ones out there.

- And how and why did you get involved in the campaign?

I was a white van driver before I became a footballer so I’m championing them.

The research done by Volkswagen over the years has shown that the drivers have evolved and are now more educated and more health conscious, I used to buy a bacon role, bag of crisps and a coke and just in the van they are now buying salads.

I got involved because I was a driver myself and I remember the stick that I used to get when I was driving. But it’s changed and evolved, not only had the vehicle improved but the nature of the driver has evolved - there are a lot more women driving vans now as well.

- We all know that the white van driver does have a bit of a bad reputation so what is this campaign going to do to help us change that opinion?

The mere face that the campaign has gone into detail to find that most of them now, rather than read the Sun of the Mirror, now read intellectual papers such as The Guardian and The Times.

-  Obviously you are best known as a footballer but what have you been up to most recently?

Well I’m back working at Spurs; I’m working with the strikers at the club, as well as doing a bit of media work which I’m really enjoying.

-  You played for many big teams such as Newcastle United, QPR, Tottenham and of course England so how do you remember those years when you look back on them now?

Oh with fond memories really because it was a great time in my life. Playing for England really was the pinnacle because when you are a young lad starting out you want to play to the highest level and I suppose playing for your country is the highest level you can attain as an individual - so realise that dream was just perfect for me.

- What was your proudest career moment?

I think pulling on the England shirt for the first time, no actually it was doing it for the second and third time - for years there have been players who have played for their country and only ever won one cap and once you have been there you want to make sure that you get there again and again.

- Now you are working for the BBC so how have you found watching the game from the other side of the fence and being a pundit rather than a player?

Yeah it’s interesting because you watch football games and you listen to everyone’s opinion, and there are all different opinions, but you understand it from a player point of view.

While I’m not playing anymore I do understand where they are coming from and sometimes you see a person and they have a bad game and people are always ready to chastise and have a go - but you can understand how form and confidence works and I try to give people an insight into what that player is going through at any given time.

- We are only nine games into the new Premier League season but how is it shaping out for you, Liverpool and struggling but Blackpool are flying?

I mean it could be the first time, most seasons when teams get promoted you look at them and think well at least two of them are going to go down, but it could be the first year that the three teams that have come up don’t go straight back down.

I think history has shown over the course of the Premier League it’s usually been the top four teams, Liverpool being one of them, that fight for the title but Liverpool will struggle to fight for that right this season.

Manchester City have come in with a lot of money so I think that it will be the usual suspects of Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Man City have come into the equation and Tottenham Hotspur - but it will be interesting to see who the other one is because I do think that there will be one other.

- You have obviously been associated with football now for many years so how have you seen the game evolve from when you were staring out to now?

That’s an interesting one I think that too much comes too soon for a lot of these younger players and perhaps there is not the hunger that I saw when I was coming through because it comes a little bit easier nowadays.

- Well that sort of leads me into my next question really as a former England player yourself what did you think of the sides display in South Africa and how they have picked themselves up in recent matches?

I think South Africa was disappointing for everybody. The manger learnt some things, not just about the players, but about himself and I think that the team were ill-prepared for the championships and it was disappointing for everyone,

I was out in South Africa and I’m like everyone else I’m a passionate supporter and I want to see England do well. But as well as the players taking responsibility for their performances in South Africa I think that management and the whole of the structure of England had to take responsibility for the way that we performed out in South Africa.

- But with that disappointment came questions about the depth of English football and, as a coach, how much would you agree that there is good strength and depth?

I came out at the time and said that I was concerned because the England manager made statements when he first came into the job saying he wouldn’t take any one who way injured and you needed to be playing for you club sides to be part of the squad.

But he had to go against those things he took players that were injured and he took players that weren’t playing regular first team football so that shows that we don’t have the strength and depth that we hoped we did have and that is a concern.

- So as a coach what is the answer to finding more top class English players?

I think that the coaching has to improve, I think as coaches we have to look at ourselves, and there has been an influx of foreign players. I was having this conversation with somebody the other day if you look at Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City there are no English forwards playing for those clubs and that is a huge concern.

- Obviously the big talking point this week concerns an English player so where do you think the future of Wayne Rooney lies?

Away from Manchester United. There are possibly only four sides that can afford him; Manchester City, Chelsea, Barcelona and Real Madrid. That decision is up to Wayne Rooney, we talk about him not being able to go to Manchester City but only Rooney will now whether he can or he can’t.
 
- We have seen so many ex players move into managing in recent years so have you any plans to follow in their footsteps.

Yeah I’m starting to get a few grey hairs, I’ve resisted temptation for a while, but I’m now doing my coaching badges and I am involved in football at the moment with the hope of going into management.

- Working at Spurs were you impressed with their performance on Wednesday night, particularly Gareth Bale?

No I wouldn’t say I was impressed with their performance no. We have worked so hard to get into the Champions league and our first half showing was not good - if we are going to perform like that then we are going to get knocked out.

In the second half we did restore a bit of pride but we cannot start games like that, go 4-0 down, because you won’t win many games like that. 

- So finally what is coming up for you between now and the end of the year?

That’s a good question, I’m not quite sure. I don’t plan (laughs).

FemaleFirst Helen Earnshaw

Les Ferdinand is working in partnership with VW Commercial Vehicles to help celebrate the latest model of the Volkswagen Transporter.

Les Ferdinand is best known as a footballer playing for clubs such as Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur throughout his career.

But before he took up a football career he was a white van driver and now he has teamed up with Volkswagen to help change the opinion of the white van man.

- You are currently working on a new campaign with Volkswagen so can you tell me a little bit about it?

It’s a campaign that is trying to paint the white van driver in a much better light.  You are laughing already.

- Well he drove into me the bastard.

Yeah there are still a few dodgy ones out there.

- And how and why did you get involved in the campaign?

I was a white van driver before I became a footballer so I’m championing them.

The research done by Volkswagen over the years has shown that the drivers have evolved and are now more educated and more health conscious, I used to buy a bacon role, bag of crisps and a coke and just in the van they are now buying salads.

I got involved because I was a driver myself and I remember the stick that I used to get when I was driving. But it’s changed and evolved, not only had the vehicle improved but the nature of the driver has evolved - there are a lot more women driving vans now as well.

- We all know that the white van driver does have a bit of a bad reputation so what is this campaign going to do to help us change that opinion?

The mere face that the campaign has gone into detail to find that most of them now, rather than read the Sun of the Mirror, now read intellectual papers such as The Guardian and The Times.

-  Obviously you are best known as a footballer but what have you been up to most recently?

Well I’m back working at Spurs; I’m working with the strikers at the club, as well as doing a bit of media work which I’m really enjoying.

-  You played for many big teams such as Newcastle United, QPR, Tottenham and of course England so how do you remember those years when you look back on them now?

Oh with fond memories really because it was a great time in my life. Playing for England really was the pinnacle because when you are a young lad starting out you want to play to the highest level and I suppose playing for your country is the highest level you can attain as an individual - so realise that dream was just perfect for me.

- What was your proudest career moment?

I think pulling on the England shirt for the first time, no actually it was doing it for the second and third time - for years there have been players who have played for their country and only ever won one cap and once you have been there you want to make sure that you get there again and again.

- Now you are working for the BBC so how have you found watching the game from the other side of the fence and being a pundit rather than a player?

Yeah it’s interesting because you watch football games and you listen to everyone’s opinion, and there are all different opinions, but you understand it from a player point of view.

While I’m not playing anymore I do understand where they are coming from and sometimes you see a person and they have a bad game and people are always ready to chastise and have a go - but you can understand how form and confidence works and I try to give people an insight into what that player is going through at any given time.

- We are only nine games into the new Premier League season but how is it shaping out for you, Liverpool and struggling but Blackpool are flying?


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