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Ian Rush - A village boy from Wales

Ian started his career in Italy brightly and scored 10 goals in 6 pre-season games. He scored 14 goals during the season of which 8 were in the league. To compare him with others, Diego Maradona was number one in the scoring charts with 14 league goals and Rush scored as many goals as Marco Van Basten at AC Milan and more than Rudi Voeller at AS Roma.

What do you make of your experience at Juventus?

We were spoilt at Liverpool. We win everything and when you leave you realise how lucky you are to be at Liverpool. Off the field I grew up as a person. I learnt a lot about the media. They were crazy over there. Footballer in Italy was like a a movie star and they would follow you everywhere.

Juventus owner Gianni Agnelli said that the club had complete faith in him after his debut season and asked Rushie what would be necessary to make him and the team a success and Rushie told him to get English players to compliment him.

AC Milan had the best team at the time with the three dutch lads and he asked me if I wanted any English players. I mentioned Steve McMahon, Graeme Sharp, Ray Houghton and Peter Beardsley. He went for Steve McMahon, Peter Beardsley and Ray Houghton and Kenny said no. I asked Kenny 'Why you didn't let them go to Juventus?' and Kenny said: 'If I'd done that you would still be at Juventus.' [smiles].

On 13th of August, one week before the English 1st division was to kick off, Paul Dean, Rushie's advisor phoned him and asked if he would like to return to Liverpool. 'Is the Pope's hat still over the top?', Rushie replied and that set the wheels in motion, Five days later Ian Rush was introduced to the press at Anfield as Liverpool's latest recruit.

It's incredible how they managed to keep your return to Liverpool a secret..

Kenny Dalglish was instrumental in making all that happen in 24 hours. That goes to show the relationship Liverpool Football Club had with Juventus because the whole deal was done over the phone. There had been rumours, but noone was sure and Kenny wouldn't tell them. He wouldn't tell them anything anyway [smiles]. It's only when I walked in at the press conference they realised I had come back to Liverpool.

Your famous quote that your time at Juventus "Was like playing in a foreign country" seems to have taken on a life of its own.

Kenny Dalglish was just joking when I came back to sign for Liverpool. Journalists were asking 'Why did you come back' and Kenny just started laughing and said because Rushie said 'That it was like playing in a foreign country.' Kenny was only joking and we were all laughing. Suddenly that quote came from me and all that exaggeration, but it's quotes like that people remember and I don't mind. I remember speaking to Jimmy Greaves about his famous "It's a funny old game." He never actually said that once. Sometimes it comes out like that and people remember you for that.

Rushie voted PFA's Player of the year in 1984

Souness was your manager at Liverpool for three years. What do you think about his legacy at the club?

He tried to change things too quickly, simple as that. There is no ifs and buts about it. If you speak to him now he knows it. He tried to get the young ones in there and the old ones out. When it wasn't happening he brought the old ones in and kicked the young ones out. He lost both the old ones and the young ones. He'd done it at Rangers, but the Scottish league is completely different to the English league. I always remember one of his first games vs Nottingham Forest. Brian Clough comes to Graeme and says, 'Welcome to the big leagues, son.'

Houllier recognised Rushie's coaching ability and added him to his staff to teach his strikers how to score goals in January 2003. Rushie has fond memories of Houllier.

Gerard Houllier is a fantastic coach and had really done well, but Liverpool were still not winning the league. Houllier changed Liverpool Football club into what it is today. Off the pitch he transformed Melwood into a European set-up. All the dressing rooms we've got at Melwood is largely down to Gerard Houllier. Every player that comes to Melwood realises it's a fantastic set-up and that's because of Gerard Houllier.

How does it feel like that every striker in Liverpool is compared to you? 'He's no Ian Rush' and so on and so forth. You are the benchmark for a goalscorer playing for Liverpool.

There are standards that you set. Liverpool Football Club are being blamed for not winning the title in 19 years and that's because of the high standards at Liverpool Football Club. If they win the league there will be someone who scores goals like me.

What is your opinion of Liverpool's current number nine, Fernando Torres?

He's a fantastic player. He's what Liverpool supporters wanted, like a breath of fresh air. His first season was incredible for the amount of goals he scored and it was great to see that. He had tough Euros with Spain and he's had his injury. Since he's come back from his injury he's like he was last year. I love people to compare him with me, that means he's scoring goals and that means they'll be winning league titles.

"I have played with and against some of the greatest strikers in the world during the past dozen years, and the greatest compliment I can pay Ian Rush is that he stands in comparison with the best, he's as good as any of them. Whatever that knack of scoring goals is, he has it. And that is something nobody can teach a footballer. Ian has also stayed totally unspoilt by his success. There is no edge to him, no question of him getting a big head." - Kenny Dalglish

Do you agree that your scoring record will never be beaten?

I don't think it will, simply because you have to be playing 14-15 years for one club which in the last 4-5 years is unheard of. Days of loyalty seem to have gone now. Maybe not from the players, but it's the football agents who have been moving in. You also have to be very lucky with injuries. I hadn't major injuries. These records, Ian Callaghan and my goalscoring one... in my lifetime I'll be surprised if they do get beat.

Copyright - Interview by Arnie and Harry for LFChistory.net

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