The Fulham skipper answers questions from his Eurosport blog:
Who are the top three keepers in the Premier League since you’ve been in it?
The best three goalkeepers in the Premier League since I have been in it are Peter Schmeichel, David James and Mark Schwarzer. Schmeichel for his sheer presence on the pitch coupled with his fantastic vocality and shot-stopping ability, James for his consistency throughout his career at the very top of his game, and Schwarzer for his overlooked ability to excel as a leader from the back.
Danny, who is the best player you have played with and against?
I have been fortunate to play with and against a lot of great players in my career. I would have to say the best player I have played against was Zinedine Zidane for his sheer class and calibre. The best I have played with, and this is a difficult decision, has to be Steven Gerrard. He just has no weaknesses in his game and his desire and passion to win are absolutely phenomenal qualities.
Do you think it is fair that football players get huge amounts of money for salaries?
I think that footballers’ salaries are justified by the sheer revenue surrounding the game and the willingness of the clubs to pay the players these wages. As a business, football clubs earn huge revenue from ticket sales, commercial and sponsorship rights and broadcasting rights revenue, which equates to a significant amount of money coming into the club. With so much money pumped into the game, the clubs, solely from a business perspective, believe their players are justified earning these salaries.
As a Fulham supporter since the 1940s, I have been very impressed by the way the current team are organised, and how well reserves fit in when players are injury. Do you think that having superstar players can be counter-productive to the team as a whole?
I think that ‘superstar’ players can only be counter-productive if, firstly, they do not have the willingness to work for the team and, secondly, their team-mates around them fail to compensate for what they look to avoid, be it a desire to defend or something similar. A team with too many members who play as ‘individuals’ can certainly be counter-productive. At Fulham, we work hard on our ethos as a squad, and we certainly don’t look to rely on individuals, with a greater focus on the squad working as one unit.
Who would you say is the best coach you’ve come across and learnt the most from in your time in football?
As a player, I am constantly learning and have had the pleasure of working with a number of great coaches. Dario Gradi had a great influence on me in the early part of my career, making sure I was focused and helping me avoid any distractions as a young player. Gerard Houllier was also very motivational, giving both criticism and praise when it was well deserved. Finally, Roy Hodgson has given me a platform to work from and I am relishing the responsibility as captain of Fulham. I believe our similar philosophy on playing good football certainly works well within the club.
It’s quite rare to see English players in other leagues. Why do you think this is, and which country would you like to play in if you went abroad?
It is rare to see English players playing in foreign leagues and I think this is mostly down to our style of play. Our Premier League is certainly of a greater intensity and I think the appeal of playing in hugely competitive games week in, week out, combined with fantastic atmospheres has a great appeal to players in this country. The Premier League is certainly one of the most lucrative leagues to play in, which also incentivises players to stay within this country. From a personal perspective, I admire the good football that is played in La Liga and would have possibly looked at an opportunity there earlier in my career but I can’t see that move happening in the near future.