Ian Rush – My personal tribute to a true legend

Ian James Rush (born 20 October 1961, St Asaph) is a retired Welsh professional footballer who played as a forward. At club level Rush played for Liverpool from 1980–1987 and 1988–1996, and is the club’s all-time leading goalscorer, having scored a total of 346 goals in all competitions during his two spells at the club. At international level Ian Rush made 73 appearances for the Wales international football team, and remains the record goalscorer for his country with 28 goals between 1980 and 1996.

Regarded as one of the greatest ever Liverpool players, Rush came 3rd in the 100 Players Who Shook The Kop – an official Liverpool fan poll. He also had short spells with Chester City, Juventus, Leeds United, Newcastle United, Sheffield United, Wrexham and Sydney Olympic. Since retiring as a player in 2000, Rush has had a stint as manager of Chester City (2004–05), and has worked as a television football pundit.

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Let me start my own story by writing some interesting stuff on the 55-year-old Ian Rush who still gives interviews about himself, his career and current as well as former players. One new example is the interview he gave on England goalkeeper Joe Hart’s loan move to Torino. Ian Rush felt at liberty to give the out of favour Manchester City player a piece of advice. In an interview published by Daily Mail and other English newspapers 4 September 2016, and quoted by the T.V. channel Eurosport, Rush amongst other things said he certainly believed Joe Hart’s brave move abroad will benefit him in the same way that it did Gareth Bale.’

England goalkeeper Hart joined Italian club Torino on deadline day after his playing opportunities became limited under new Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.

Former Liverpool striker Ian Rush knows Turin well as he spent one season at Torino’s city rivals Juventus in the late 1980s, and he believes Hart should be applauded for making the surprise switch to Serie A.

Ian Rush is kind of famous for a ludicrous outburst upon returning to Liverpool after what might be termed a difficult season there, as he as quoted as saying ‘I could never live in Italy. It was like living in a different country.’ On the other hand, as Rush has come of age, he admits he was disappointed at not being allowed to move to Napoli the very same summer as Diego Maradona was signed from Barcelona, only because the southern Italian club couldn’t sign their prime target, Ian Rush. Rush has also come to admit his quite unimpressive one-year spell at Juventus made him become a better player than he was before he made that move and learnt new stuff about the Italian way of playing, and especially so the Italian way of defending. New eating and training habits were also learnt. Rush has also, in particular, has talked about his very good relationship with Juventus fans. He was indeed part of the team that made English clubs get a European football ban due to fans’ behaviour at Heysel, but it was never an issue as concerned either Juventus fans or team mates. In fact, as of today, Ian Rush is
alongside Michel Platini Juventus’ most important Heysel tragedy ambassadors, at times in Turin, at other times in Liverpool.

Now, as Ian Rush has grown older, he also has insisted that infamous ‘foreign country’ quote was definitely not something he had ever said, but was only a lie made up by some idiot British football journalist. We all know this has been a problem in England for plenty of years, every small and large news outlet having journalists who support one team and hate many other teams and their pleyers, and especially so when it comes to big rivals, and both Liverpool F.C. and Manchester United are such teams for different London based journalists.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – a model professional – has been quoted as saying he would never sign for Liverpool, as Liverpool is a team that finishes eight in the Premier League bt still calls itself a big club. That qoute is as much of a lie as the quote he supposedly made about the prospect of signing for Manchester United. He was said to having claimed he would never sign for Manchester United, as he didn’t play on Thursday; i.e. the UEFA Europa League.

Fact is, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has always admired Jürgen Klopp and wanted to play under him for many years. Jürgen Klopp might have found that he is getting too old to sign now, as he himself once said Zlatan Ibrahimovic was the only player worth a million pounds for all of his feet, inches, pounds and stones. Not so anymore, perhaps? And Ibrahimovic actually did sign for Manchester United. How anyone can believe he had been laughing at the prospect of doing that just a few weeks before he made the move to the north west of England from Paris, is difficult for me to understand, but there are a lot of Liverpool supporters who actually do believe Ibrahimovic actually said that to this well-known Italian journalist who have made it perfectly clear Ibrahimovic has never said any such thing to him, as claimed by social media buffs.

As for Joe Hart’s move to Turin and Italy, Rush offers Hart good news and important advise.

‘Turin is an industrial city and will be different to what he is used to in the winter,’ said Rush.’I was lucky as I scored the winner against Torino and they treat you really well. If he does well against Juventus I am sure they will love him. It is not going to be easy, but it is a lot easier off the pitch nowadays as you have people helping you. As a goalkeeper it will be about his communication with his defence, the most important thing is defensive organisation and to do that he will have to speak Italian.’

In Ragnhild Lund Ansnes’ new book ‘Liverpool Captains’ Ian Rush also has a lot to say about himself, the club and his former team-mates and managers.

‘I hated my first year in the club. I was so shy and had to change clothes togeter with all these great superstars. Ray Clemence was seated on one side of me, Alan Hansen on the other. It was very, very difficult to feel at ease. The social environment was totally new to me. People were joking in the dressing room, and I had no idea as to howI should respond. Were they even funny, or were they teasing me? I didn’t play well for the reserves team. Everything just felt dreary, and I desperately needed help to get myself into the team feeling. There just were no door attendant to protect me. Eveyone were joking, even the supporters were. But I hated it. In the dressing room everyone were laughing and teasing every new player in the team. They played sink or swim with us. I took all the things said and done personally, but I never said a thing because I was so shy. All this gnawed me, and it affected my performance on the pitch.’

As a footballer Ian Rush was a natural talent from childhood onwards into adolecence and young man. But he is thankful to his senior brothers who helped him get as good as he got to become, as they allowed him to play with them and their friends who were older than he himself was.

Ian Rush believes his first six months in the club were the most important months of his career. It seemed impossible to play ones way into a team that kept on winning all the time. Never change a winning team. Unless someone got injured or sick, but even if that happened it was difficult. Rush was training with the first team on Thursdays and Fridays, even if the reserves team and the first team used to train in seperate locations. It was during this period Bob Paisley made this very useful observation: he found that Rush played better against stronger opposition. This way he got to try out playing for the first team. After seven games he believed he was an integral part of the first team, but Paisley was ruthless in his feed back. ‘You’re not a part of this team. You’re not good enough. You have not yet scored a single goal. You shall have to see to it that you become more selfish on the pitch!’

It ended up with a quarrel in which Ian Rush asked to be transfer listed. Paisley accepted his demand. The only thing going on in the young striker’s head from then on was only to play for himself. Be an egoist. It gave results. In the next two games for the reserves team he scored five goals. Then the cup game against Oulun Palloseura of Finland came up, and Rush was selected for the first team. He started the game off on the substitutes bench, but were substituted on in the second half. In his quiet mind all he thought was I’m gonna show them how selfish I am!

The goal against Oulun Palloseura was the start of the longest lasting row of goals scored by one and the same player in the club’s history. The great goal feast had started.

‘The first hero I got was Ian Rush. Obviously because he was such a fantastic goalscorer. The work he put down for the team was unbelievable and outstanding. He worked all over the pitch to help the team. It was some amazing experience when he, many years later, came over and approached me, talking to me as if I was a friend of his. It was fantastic!’

~ Sami Hyypiä (as told to Ragnhild Lund Ansnes for her book Liverpool Captains)

‘Rushie was perceptive and had two good feet. He is one of the most instinctive finishers football has ever seen. My partnership with Rush proved so good because he could run and I could pass. I would just try to put the ball in front of him. Rushie said he made runs knowing the ball would come to him. That was true but only because his runs were so clever. His run was more important than my pass. Rushie was a good passer himself. He could have been a midfielder because his range of passing was great. Rush was easily the best partner I’ve ever had. We could have been made for each other.’

~ Kenny Dalglish (as written in his autobiography)

‘I’d say the greatest player I ever played with was Kenny Dalglish. He was absolutely tremendous to me, both on and off the pitch. Although we didn’t speak a lot off the pitch, on the pitch he was always talking to me. And when I needed a kick up the backside he was always there to do it.’

~ Ian Rush (as told to BBC in an interview on his football career)

‘I wouldn’t have liked to play against Ian, I must admit. He had a tremendous pace. Tremendous pace off the mark. You know, he could get by you by five yards before you could run.’

~ Ron Yeats (as smilingly said in a TV interview)

As is said by former players, Rush had an enormous work rate. Many supporters tend to forget that while they do remember such a lot of his goals as if they occurred last week. Ian Rush was always our first line of defence, it was very visible for everyone who watched Liverpool play. Even so, it is very easy for people to forget about. His Liverpool goalscoring record stands in the way, one might say, when people remember the player we all loved. Rush would win the ball back very high up on the pitch, very often just outside the opposition’s 18 yard line, and that remains as relevant  for a Jürgen Klopp forward of today as it certainly must have been for Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan, and Kenny Dalglish at the time when these guys were the Liverpool managers of Rush back in the 1980s and early 1990s.

And how he terrorized Everton! Such a lot of Merseyside derby goals, it is simply amazing! Fun fact: Everton used to be Ian Rush’s favourite team when he was a kid. 

‘Ian Rush was fast as lightning and he only needed one chance to score. He was more clinical and more prolific than all others, including the other Wales forward Mark Hughes. Ian Rush is the best goalscorer I have ever seen. I can’t remember anyone better than him. He scored all kinds of goals with different parts of his body, but never from a long way out. He forced people to making mistakes with his closing down. He was so quick. Whenever we went away (with Wales) we knew that if we defended well, Rushie would only need one chance and Mark ‘Sparky’ Hughes might do something special.’

~ Neville Southall (as told in an interview about his Wales international career)

In a TV interview with Goalkeeper Magazine Neville Southall also said Ian Rush was the worst player he ever were up against as an Everton goalkeeper. And why not? With all the goals he scored when he was up against Neville Southall in derby games?

Written by @magneleokarlsen

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