Dubai: Former England striker Teddy Sheringham has predicted that a player such as Cristiano Ronaldo still has a long way to go before establishing himself as one of the modern greats in football.
Speaking on the 11th episode of online seminar 'The Player, The Coach, The Person’ hosted by It's Just Football's Chris Brown, the 54-year-old Sheringham insisted that Ronaldo is just about peaking in his career as a potent striker for both club and country.
“There is every chance that Cristiano Ronaldo will go a long way,” Sheringham replied to a query posed by Gulf News during the online seminar.
“At the moment, he’s playing at a top level and producing a ridiculous number of goals and setting the standard for our sport,” the former Tottenham and Manchester United striker added.
Capped 51 times for England, Sheringham stood out for his longevity as much as for his lethal presence in front of goal. He is currently the 11th-highest goalscorer in the history of the English Premier League with 146 goals to his name.
He also holds the record for being the oldest outfield player to appear in an EPL match (at 40 years and 272 days) and the oldest player to score in a Premier League match (40 years, 268 days).
“There is always the odd player who can do it. I was fortunate because I didn’t have any major injuries that kept me away during my playing career. Unlike an experienced player like Alan [Shearer], who had to struggle at times with injuries,” Sheringham said.
“The older you get, the tougher it is to compete against lads who are 10 or 15 years younger to you on the field. Of course, there are always going to be the freaks like Ryan [Giggs] or Ronaldo who pay a lot of attention to everything they do, both on and off the field.”
Sheringham retired from competitive football at the end of the 2007-08 season with Colchester United, at the age of 42. He has since gone on to manage League Two club Stevenage and Atletico Kolkata in the Indian Super League (ISL).
Though coached by some of the great managers of our times, Sheringham holds Terry Venables as one of the best bosses he has worked under, while also rating Manchester City’s current coach Pep Guardiola quite highly.
“Working with Terry was like the icing on the cake for me. He always had a way to find different ways in tackling a particular opponent. He was simple in his communications with his players. He gave us various options on how to deal with the opposite team, and he left us to change and adapt to any of his ‘ways’ during the course of the match,” Sheringham said.
“Football is so much like a game of chess really. It is all about movement, and Terry had a way of conveying all this and more to all 11 of us on the pitch without confusing any of us.”
After his career as a player, Sheringham got into management and his first appointment in May 2014 was as an attacking coach with his childhood club West Ham United. A year later, he was given his first managerial role while taking charge of League Two side, Stevenage replacing Graham Westley. But less than a year later, he was sacked with the club picking up just three points from their previous eight matches.
“Now is the time to make other people understand how the game is to be played. I need to do what Terry [Venables] did, and what Pep Guardiola is doing right now with Manchester City,” Sheringham said.
“I believe that if I want something to be done right, then I’ve got to do it myself instead of entrusting some other member of the coaching staff to do it for me. To me, Pep is the best example we can have as a coach who literally is hands-on in his job. That’s his passion and he spends every moment in it.”