Almost identical to David Beckham, former defender Paul Parker grew up in east London before going on to represent both Manchester United and England in what proved a glistening playing career.
Parker made his name at Fulham before his impressive stint with rivals Queens Park Rangers caught the attention of the Red Devils, where he went on to win four major trophies, including the first two Premier League titles under Sir Alex Ferguson.
But more than 23 years after his retirement, Parker is set to swap the pitch for the pond when he participates in a new finishing programme called Angling Outlaws, which will be aired on BT Sport next year.
We spoke exclusively to the 57-year-old about several different subjects within football…
“If you’re looking at a pairing, then you have to say they may be the best in the league at this moment in time on current form. Luke Shaw, this season, has shown the reasons why he should be a Manchester United player. He was starting to show that before and then got injured but he got no help from the previous manager.”
“He should have got a load of time. He hasn’t been given an opportunity; I think it’s wrong. I don’t know why United play two holding midfielders at home. When you look at what United are about attacking wise, they’re playing with one attacking player.
“He does work well with Fernandes, he works well with Cavani, he works well with Mata, but he hasn’t been given the opportunity. He should be starting games with Fernandes, Pogba and Cavani. He’s played in big games; he’s played in a Champions League semi-final. I think he’s been let down in certain ways and should have been managed better.”
“Personally I think they’re going to have to get another striker in. Antonio has done incredible, he went through a stage in the season where he deserved fans in the stadium, because he started this run.
“He’s done wonders with them, his performance at Wolves when he did his hamstring, that’s the best his all-round game has been. He made one of the goals, made such an unselfish run for Lingard. He’s learned how to play that role.”
“He hasn’t let himself down. He’s started in big games. He made his debut at Man City; he’s played at Old Trafford twice this season and he’s done well. He’s feeling more and more confident. He’s done himself justice, but I’m sure he will get to a certain point where he wants to become a regular.”
“The easiest thing to say if you always look to have experience through the middle. I look at when he left QPR, he went to Southampton and West Brom on Premier League money. He would have to take a massive drop in money. I think they could go out and get a younger striker which would balance the books rather than put everything into one player.”
“As an 11/12-year-old, I did. I have been out once so far; I went out in a place in Essex and caught an oversized goldfish. It was a goldfish in steroids. It still hasn’t caught me, it’s not fast and furious, I wouldn’t say I was rushing to get back. I’m not a big fan of touching fish, it makes me want to wash my hands.”
“I know all of them quite well. I know Frank from playing against him – I made my top-level debut playing against Frank for Rangers against West Ham and I have played a lot of ex-pro games against him. The other two I know well because we were at Fulham together. We signed Ray Houghton on a free transfer from West Ham – maybe the best free transfer of all time, his career will tell you that. Tony Gale, I have known since I was 14 as a kid to when I was an apprentice and I used to clean his boots.”
Paul Parker will be joining Ray Houghton, Tony Gale and Frank McAvennie on BT Sport’s Angling Outlaws, next summer.
With the help of Outlaw Pro, the four former pros will be trying their hand at fishing, with the quadruplet facing off at the end of the six-part series to see who knows their slide tackles from their tackle boxes.