Regarded by many as the best of his generation, Glenn Hoddle is once again making headlines in the football world. Alongside the continuing success of his Glenn Hoddle Academy - which gives talented young players the opportunity to break into the pro game - Hoddle has been involved with the resurgence of iconic brand Hummel, who have just released their quality 10/11 Hummel Football Boots collection.
Glenn Hoddle is fully committed to both the GHA and Hummel football boots, born from a desire to give back to the game that has made his name. Glenn has a wealth of experience and knowledge when it comes to playing and succeeding at the highest level, it was the SoccerBible's pleasure to ask the former England international player and manager a few questions.
Our exclusive interview gave us the chance to discuss football boots old and new, boot designs and performance requirements, Glenn's career highlights, his opinion on Lionel Messi, and how his academy is helping talented footballers...
ON GLENN HODDLE & FOOTBALL
SoccerBible: What was your playing career highlight?
Glenn Hoddle: Playing in the '86 World Cup Finals and in the FA Cup win over Manchester City in 1981.
SB: What was the best goal you scored?
GH: My favourite goal was the volley against Manchester Untied at White Hart Lane in the Cup.
SB: Your greatest achievement in football?
GH: I would say playing for England gives me a great personal pride, but also at management level getting Chelsea to the semi finals of the Cup Winners Cup, with a squad quite unlike the one they have today.
SB: Who was the best player you ever played with?
GH: Diego Maradona, I played with him in Ossie's Testimonial against Inter Milan and of course against him.
SB: And the toughest player you ever played against?
GH: The Italian defender Claudio Gentile was the toughest player.
SB: Who in your opinion is the greatest player of all time?
GH: Diego Maradona.
SB: Who do you think is currently the best footballer in the world and why?
GH: Lionel Messi is the best player without a doubt. In the modern day game he glides through tackles, against defenders in double banks and goes through three or four at a time. He is also a team player, he doesn't dive and has the all-round attributes of a truly great footballer.
ON FOOTBALL BOOTS AND HUMMEL
SB: Did you have a favourite pair of boots whilst playing?
GH: Hoddle Hummel were my favourite boots in my final couple of seasons at Tottenham. They were the first boots that I had a hand in designing and that I had my name put to, so I made sure they had all I was looking for in a boot.
SB: Do you have any memorable pairs from matches you kept?
GH: No, I haven't kept any boots.
SB: What are the main features you look for in new boots when trying them out?
GH: Comfort and grip, I like a tight boot, that moulds around the foot, but grip is also important.
SB: What do you like about the new Hummel football boots?
GH: Lightweight and leather. The styles are great for players who let their feet do the talking as they are inconspicuous. I was never one for coloured boots when I was playing so the Hummel boots fitted my style perfectly, however I am getting used to my current Hummel boots...I draw the line at bright yellow! I could actually do with another pair of the K leather please, size eight and a half!!!
SB: Are there any features that stand out for you?
GH: The weight and design, they always feel right as soon as I put them on which as a player is the most important aspect. Hummel have always been known for producing a great feeling boot, the standard across all of the styles in terms of boot quality has risen since my Hoddle Hummel boots were launched.
SB: What advantages do Hummel boots offer over their competitors?
GH: Hummel offer a boot that ticks all the boxes in terms of quality and fit as well as being iconic and well respected in the football world. Hummel may not be the biggest brand, but in every team there are players who want to do be different from the norm, they usually stand out from the crowd and Hummel produce boots for this kind of player.
SB: What do you think of the style?
GH: The new designs look really good and are certainly up there with the biggest boot brands. Black boots will always stay the test of time and this new range is proof of that, most iconic boots are still predominately black.
SB: As a great technical player, can you explain the benefits of a natural leather boot?
GH: I prefer the feel of a real leather boot that moulds around your foot, I would not be seen with anything else. There are new technologies and materials, but you cannot beat leather.
SB: If you could sum up Hummel football boots in a sentence?
GH: A very comfortable boot, stylish and importantly maintains its shape. And as I mentioned earlier Hummel have produced a range of boots that fit and feel so comfortable straight out of the box, looks are irrelevant if the fit is not right, thankfully with all of my Hummel boots this has never been a issue.
ON THE GLENN HODDLE ACADEMY
SB: Can you give us a brief background on the aims of The Glenn Hoddle Academy?
GH: My academy is really a professional football development centre, we
identify talented players released from pro clubs and develop them in
Spain before giving them the opportunity to return to the pro game at
the highest levels possible.
SB: What can the players learn at the Institute and how can they develop as player?
GH: Between us, the coaching staff have a wealth of experience at the very
highest levels of the game and we provide each player with a personal
development plan which identifies the areas they need to
develop to get
back into the game. We work on areas sometimes overlooked at clubs, but
the important thing is that we have time and the right environment to
SB: Is there a common reason for the players that are rejected too early?
GH: Players are released for many reasons, many are just too small for the English game, they need time to develop. Others have had injuries and the clubs don't want to risk them getting a pro contract. Many clubs also have to reduce their playing squads and of course financial reasons can dictate how many players a club can maintain.
SB: If a player was rejected from a club at say 18, how much room for improvement and development is there for that player?
GH: This is a very good question. At 18 not all players are physically developed, they need time. Some just need the opportunity and the right surroundings to show what they can do. We have ongoing trials and we see so many players, the ones where we see development potential and the right attitude are the ones we really consider. But all players that come to my academy will improve without a doubt.
SB: As the first independent Professional Football Academy you're pioneering in the game, but are you also pioneering in your teachings? For example are your methods more technically led?
GH: We do things differently at the academy. Firstly all players with us are treated as individuals, they each have their own development plans which we monitor closely. This includes technical improvements of course as well as a wealth of other areas, we work specifically on using the wrong foot for example. A major difference is that we do not have to play in a game every Saturday and win. We do play regular games, but it is about showcasing the individual talent, rather that the team.
SB: Where do you see the academy in the future, can you change the face of English football?
GH: I certainly hope the academy will help make a difference. We managed to get a number of players in to Spanish football last season, but the future of the game is worrying. We need a long term strategy, but we certainly have talent in the country, often this can be lost to the game at too early an age. With skilful players in the English game we need to consider a root and branch review. My academy will give a second chance to a very limited number of talents, but so many more pass through the net and are lost to the game.
SB: Finally, what's the best piece of advice you can offer young talented footballers hoping to make it in the game?
GH: They need to practice and play, at the best level and as often as
possible. When I
was a youngster I played every minute that I could,
with my friends and family, but even when I was on my own, I would be
working on ball skills or perfecting a pass against a wall. It is
really about commitment as well as having the ability to play the game.
Players should also play with their heads up, be aware of what is
around them and believe in their own ability to control and release the
ball without having to look at it.
In a career that has
seen him play and coach at the very highest level, Glenn has rightly earned
the reputation of being one of the shrewdest judges of football talent
in the world, and he certainly knows a thing or two about football boots!
If you want to read more about Hummel football boots you can check out our SoccerBible Brand Focus: Hummel or the latest boot review of the Hummel Old School Star Pio football boots.