First published on 1 May 2012. Updated on 2 May 2012.
Being in a football team requires a lot of hard work, so retiring would’ve given the body a bit of relaxation time. Do you still keep up with a regular exercise regime?
I go to the gym at least four times a week. I am paranoid about putting on weight! I am only two kilos over from when I finished playing. If someone says they think I have put on a bit of weight, I make sure I do a few extra days in the gym!
Playing for England must’ve been a thrill, but at the same time there must’ve been a lot of pressure on your shoulders. How was it to represent England?
I would say that I put myself under pressure because I wanted to do well. Yes, you are representing your country, but you also don’t want to let yourself down in front of all those people. It’s not an individual club, it’s a whole country.
How would you compare that pressure to playing for Manchester United?
The pressure of playing for Manchester United is [greater]. Yes, there is an expectation [that comes with] playing for England, but there was a bigger expectation with Manchester United. You knew you had to play well consistently, otherwise you knew you wouldn’t be picked to play.
A lot of youngsters wanting to get into the sport will ask players for advice – but what advice were you given when you wanted to get into football?
Over the years I was given lots of different advice, but I was very self-motivated and I think that is important. You have to work hard, but you have to do that not only for yourself but also the people around you. Football is all about teamwork, and you are only as good as the people around you.
You’ve also worked as a commentator. Did you ever have a low opinion of commentators before you tried it – and is it more difficult to be in the commentator’s seat?
Personally I think commentators now are a bit like referees, and everyone has an opinion of whether they are good or bad. Nowadays there is more attention on what a commentator says about you. When I played, the only thing you really looked out for was your mark out of ten in the [now-defunct UK papers] News of the World and the Sunday People.
What do you think about the huge amount of Manchester United support here in Singapore? Do you feel safe here knowing we’ve got your back around town?
I always feel safe in Singapore! It’s great that there are so many Manchester United fans here, I believe over a million. I’ve enjoyed spending the last few days meeting fans and I think it is great that Thomas Cook Sport teamed up with Bonvo to offer the fans official Manchester United Match Breaks. Now all our fans in Singapore can visit Old Trafford!