At the official launch of the new Nike CTR II boots SoccerBible had the chance to sit down with two of the CTR's biggest players. Rafael van der Vaart and Jack Wilshere are two players who embody everything the CTR football boots are about - the playmaker. They were more than happy to discuss everything from their heroes to the season so far. Check out what the two had to say as questions were fired at the midfield duo...
SB: For the last few years the game has been about strength and pace. Do you think it's good for players like yourselves that teams put so much importance and development on the 'play-maker' type of player?
JW: Yeah for sure, especially in England we've been missing the play-maker type. In Holland you have a few players who can play like that but especially in England we have missed that but it's getting better.
SB: What about the players that you have around you? Does having the right players around you affect the way that you play?
JW: Yeah definitely, playing with players like Cesc who want to get the ball down and play has a big effect on my game.
SB: We talk a lot about tidy football and brilliant passes but many of your goals this season have come from the head of Peter Crouch. Have you ever player with anyone like Crouch before and what does he add to your game?
VDV: It's fantastic, Peter is a nice guy...a tall guy. For me playing behind someone like Peter it is quite easy. You can put the ball into the area and he always seems to be there to header it back. For me, I just have to be in the right place and put the ball in the back of the net.
SB: Jack, do you think that there are certain formations that perhaps lend themselves to your style of play?
JW: I think the Arsenal formation suits my game perfectly. You have one holding and two going forward so I definitely enjoy the 433 formation we use and I think it suits my game well.
SB: Who do you look up to in the game and who were your heroes growing up?
My idol was always Romario. He was playing in Holland at the time and I loved him. His skills, technique, I loved him he was my hero. I liked his whole game. One moment it would be like he was sleeping and then another moment he would change the game.
One of my biggest role models was David Beckham because of how he performed on and off the pitch.
SB: As play-makers yourselves, what is the key to getting in the right mindset during game? Do you have something that you always think about and keeps coming back to you?
JW: I think it's important to know what you're going to do with the ball before it comes to you. So you're always thinking before hand and when the ball comes to you to can make the pass straight away.
SB: Do you have a certain things that you are always thinking about on the pitch?
|VDV: I always try to enjoy the game. It is easy to say but it's true. Every game is different, sometimes you feel better inside you but you have to enjoy your game. The play-maker is the most difficult position because you have to always know where everyone is on the pitch.
SB: A lot of Spurs player this season are talking about the change there in terms of a new winning mentality. How do you build that and how do you make sure it continues?
JD: You have to believe in yourself. Belief is one of the biggest things in football. If you believe you can win the Premier League then of course it can happen. I think we have the squad and we're in a great position in the League.
SB: Jack, there seems to be two arguments about the Premier League at the moment. One is that it's wide open and its great and the other is that the standard has dropped a little bit and that's why there are a lot of teams fighting for the title this season. What's your take on that?
JW: I think the other teams have improved. A couple of seasons ago Spurs weren't in the Champions League and now they're in the top four and pushing for the title. I think it's more about the other teams improving instead of the top teams becoming worse.
SB: In modern day football you can analyse every aspect of your games with stats. It's no longer just about the goals you score. Are there any stats particularly that you two pay attention two?
VDV: No not really. I think you have to play your own game and sometimes people don't realise that the play-maker runs the most kilometres on the pitch!
JW: If you start thinking about stats it can get too complicated and you just have to go out there and play your game.
SB: If we said we could play you alongside one midfielder each and every week, who would that be?
VDV: I would say Sneijder because I think we can play great together. It's a feeling we have from when we played football together as little boys.
SB: Does that make a difference having gone back through the Ajax ranks together. Do you have that sort of telepathy?
VDV: Yea it's weird because we played for the Ajax youth team together and the first team then I left to go to Hamburg, he to Madrid and for one year we played again together. We also play well together in the national team so it definitely means something.
SB: What about you Jack. You play alongside on of the best play-makers in the world in Cesc Fabregas. Would it be him?
JW: Yeah I think so, he's brilliant to play with. He's always in space and he's always finding me in space. I've always looked up to Joe Cole as well so if I had to say an English player it would be him.
SB: Jack do you ever feel that there's a certain pressure on you because you are viewed by many as being one of the lead players for this next generation on English footballers?
JW: I think there's many good young English players out there and some of them just need to be given the chance. I was given my chance with Arsenal and I'm grateful for that. There's players now that are still 24 and 25 that are in the national team and they're going to be in the national team for years to come as well.
SB: What about you manager at club level. How important a role has he played in the development of your game?
JW: He's been brilliant. Last year I was trying to break into the first team. I couldn't quite do that so he sent me out on loan to Bolton which helped massively so I keep trying to repay him for everything with my performances.
SB: He said that the footballing world is your oyster. If you could take us 10 years into the future, what would the world of Wilshere look like?
JW: Obviously I still want to be at Arsenal and winning trophies and hopefully be in the national team and winning trophies with them.
SB: Harry Repknapp tells an interesting story about the way you arrived at Spurs Rafa. What was your take on your move from Real Madrid?
VDV: Yeah it was great. I think it was a last minute call.
SB: How do you think you've settled in with Spurs? Have you realised that there is a warm relationship there between you and the fans?
VDV: Yes I think so. It's great to be playing here with great fans. Every time I play I am playing for them.
SB: Before you came did you know much about the style of play and about Harry Redknapp?
VDV: I knew of course about the manager Harry. I knew they had some great players as well so I knew I was coming to a great team.
SB: You've played in four countries (Rafa counts on his hands to make sure). Can you give us a comparison?
VDV: Holland I think is the best school to learn football. I think its a great league for that because it's not the strongest league in Europe. When I left for Hamburg I found that it was a lot more physical and in Spain everybody loves to play football. They try to build up technique, especially if you play for Madrid or Barcelona. Then I came here and the speed of the first game I played was much higher.
SB: What about the role of the play-maker in those leagues? Do you feel that there's any difference? Do you play any differently in the Premier League?
VDV: I think the league here is much stronger because in Spain you only have Barcelona or Real Madrid. Here you have many good teams and you have to fight in every single game to get the points.
SB: Jack what do you make of Van der Vaart and the impact he's having on the Premier League?
JW: I've loved watching him for years and I remember him at Madrid as well and you can see he's a great player from the ways he's playing this year and the goals he's scoring. I remember him at the Emirates and he was a different class. I can learn a lot from him.
SB: Rafa, do you still get that excitement from seeing young players like Jack. You must have seen many young players coming through the ranks during your time a Ajax.
VDV: Yeah he's great. I saw him playing against us in the Carling Cup. I was really enjoying his game because he was the best player on the pitch. When he gets the ball he always finds someone that is free. It looks easy but it's the most difficult thing.
Check out our full boot review of the Nike CTR360 Maestri II football boots worn by both Jack Wilshere and Rafael van der Vaart, plus check out all the action from the CTR II Launch Event.