Bill Shankly summed it up best in the Liverpool winger's testimonial brochure. Well, if he had scored goals as well as everything else he did, he would have been in the same category as Jesus Christ! Liverpool Football Club has lost a true legend with the news that Thompson has passed away at the age of The Carlisle-born left winger played a starring role in the club's thrilling resurgence under Shankly in the Sixties.
He was part of two title-winning teams in and which were sandwiched by the club's first FA Cup final triumph against Leeds United at Wembley. Thompson had caught Shankly's eye with his pace and trickery when he scored the winner for Preston to dump Liverpool out of the FA Cup in February Shankly wasn't impressed.
Best thing I ever did. For Liverpool, it proved to be a spectacularly good investment as Thompson set about tormenting top-flight full-backs. Thompson would have earned many more than 16 caps for England but for Alf Ramsey's decision not to play with traditional wingers. He was named in the provisional squads for both the and World Cups but didn't make the final cut. Asked to name the best player he ever played with, Liverpool team-mate Willie Stevenson said:"Without a doubt, Peter Thompson.
Wiz of Awes
He had such pace and ability on the wing. Knee injuries hampered Thompson in the early Seventies and with him unavailable for selection his relationship with Shankly became strained. Having been told by medical staff that his career was effectively over, Thompson enjoyed a remarkable revival. The moniker may lack originality but seems appropriate given his capacity to conjure a cross when apparently boxed in by opponents. Reid felt it was a quality of which Scotland should avail themselves and phoned Brown, urging him not to forget his player.
The Scotland manager was aware of his capabilities, Johnston having been one of several Hearts players who made the Under side, though he was sufficiently impressed by a first-hand appraisal to pick him for the senior pool. The pleasing thing is that he's good with both feet and happy to play either side.
It's no coincidence that Niall Quinn is getting so many goals for Sunderland this season. We haven't got any big strikers like that, but we do have guys who support well from midfield and get goals, such as Craig Burley. He's something of a throwback in that respect. He has terrific skill and can beat a man with clever footwork, and he's also got a nice step-over trick, excellent delivery and a good game-awareness, which is vital at international level. Scotland have grown accustomed to visiting sides, from the makeweights like the Faroese to teams from the other end of Fifa's world rankings, massing behind the ball and then countering quickly.
Brown cites the Netherlands as an example of a country who favour out- and-out wingers. Yet he fears they are a dying breed, despite the emergence of Johnston, McCann and Glass absent injured at Newcastle. Players just don't get to the byline like they used to.
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Even in England, there are very few on the go now. He speaks from experience, having made regular cross-border incursions to check on players his most recent visit, for his sins, Brown was to Queen's Park Rangers versus Swindon. A recent trip to Sunderland, whom he saw close in on the Premiership by beating Norwich, satisfied him that Johnston's magic is in good working order.
If we can just get past this transitional period without failing to qualify, I'm sure there's a really good side in the making, with wingers to boot. You can find our Community Guidelines in full here. Want to discuss real-world problems, be involved in the most engaging discussions and hear from the journalists?
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