We interview Bolton’s Chris Eagles ahead of the winger’s clash with his former club, Manchester United.
1. First of all Chris, how do you rate Bolton’s start to the Premier League season with two defeats and a win?
We knew it was going to be tough. The first game of the season [against QPR] we set out to get three points on the board which we did but obviously from there we knew it was going to be hard and we were unfortunate against [Manchester] City but the with way the gaffer [Owen Coyle] is, every loss we have we are learning from.
2. How are you personally settling into life at Bolton and how are you viewing working under Owen Coyle once more?
As soon as I knew Owen was speaking to Burnley I was happy – I didn’t need to meet him, it was just the personal terms that needed to be sorted. The lads here have been absolutely brilliant. Owen has done here what he did at Burnley, it’s a very friendly-orientated club. From the first day I was here the lads took me in and they’ve been brilliant so I’d like to thank them for everything they’ve done.
3. Was Owen Coyle the main reason why you chose to join Bolton?
It was a big part because I didn’t have to meet him and as soon as I knew the money was agreed I just wanted to come here.
4. Jack Wilshere and Daniel Sturridge have both come on loan to Bolton in recent seasons and done well. Do you think Bolton is the ideal club for players to develop?
I think Bolton is a big club and if you asked people out there I think they’d love to play for Bolton. That’s shown with the youngsters coming through. I grew up at Man United and if Bolton had of asked to have me on loan while I was there when I was 18, 19 I would have loved to have come. But yeah, it’s has shown that [Bolton can develop players]. Obviously the lads have talent and that helps, I’d loved to have played with them but the way it is they’ve gone back to their old clubs and they are playing there.
I’ve enjoyed every day in training with them [new team mates] because I’m learning but I believe I belong here and hopefully I can keep going from strength to strength.
5. Do you still believe you can break into the England national team?
Yeah, it’s not like at Burnley were I was here for a year [the Premier League] and everyone was expecting us to go down. Bolton are an established Premier League club so I believe I can. I’d be honoured if I was picked to play for England and that’s my dream and I am aiming for it, yes.
6. There was a lot of talk about your team mate Gary Cahill leaving Bolton at the end of the transfer window. Are you surprised he didn’t leave?
Nobody knows the full ins and outs, obviously the gaffer knows more than anyone. People just read the papers and try and guess what’s going on. If he was to go, I’d wish him all the best and it would be good for him. I used to play with him as a youngster at Aston Villa so I know what talent he’s got, he’s a great player and he’s shown that to everyone. But obviously, I’m delighted that he’s stayed because I get to play with him for a season or five months. I’m sure the gaffer would bring in someone else if he does go, well he’d have to to be fair. I was pleased he stayed but I was a bit upset for him too because you don’t know what he’s thinking, he might of wanted to go, I really don’t know.
7. You’re up against your former club Manchester United this weekend, what do you make of Sir Alex Ferguson’s latest team and the new youngsters he is bringing through?
It is brilliant for the club with all the youngsters coming through but you’ve got to realise they bought them as well. Cleverley and Welbeck are great players and I’m sure they’ve got a bright future but obviously I’m here now so we’ll be looking to take points off them. It will be tough but we’ll enjoy the challenge.
8. Looking back, how would you assess your time at Manchester United and were you given enough opportunities?
I did in a way but the players there are the best players in the world and it was always an honour to play for them. It was hard though, I’d play in pre-season games and I’d score and do really well and think I’d be involved more. It was tough but it’s just the way it ended up but I thank Sir Alex and United for everything they’ve done for me because I was there for seven, eight years and the way I play now is what they’ve taught me, I’d never say a bad word about them. It’s going to be emotional this weekend because it’s like playing against a team you’ve always cared for.
9. During your time at Manchester United there were comparisons between you and David Beckham, did that put pressure on you?
No pressure at all, obviously he is from the same area as me. It just one of them things that comes with the job, the only people that made it up was the media side. The people you work with day in, day out don’t do that, everyone just respected each other for what they do. When I was there I learnt off everybody. To be compared to him is something special but at the end of the day I’m my own person. Hopefully in the future people will say you remind me of Chris Eagles!
10. As a fellow winger, what did you make of training and playing with Cristiano Ronaldo?
I can remember his debut, I was about 16 or 17 and he came on at Old Trafford and he was amazing. He always helped me though, he would talk to you about things. Obviously he’s moved away from here now but I’d love to see him back in the Premier League because he’s so exciting and so unpredictable. You go to a ground and everyone is booing him but really they are respecting him for what he brings to the game.
It wasn’t just him though, there was Carlos Tevez, Beckham, Scholes, Giggs. Even the defenders like Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra, they are all amazing, you can’t just say “him or him”. If you were to train with them you would realise what it’s like. It was an honour to train and play with them all.
11. So, who is the best in the world? Ronaldo or Messi?
I think they both are, they are both different. I do support Barcelona but I do watch Real Madrid to watch Cristiano. I think Xavi and Iniesta as well, they’re amazing too. I just think there’s a number of players out there who are always going to be in the top 10, it just depends on how their season has gone then you can say who it is. I watch all the individual players though, like David Silva, I think he’s amazing. They are all different players, there’s not just one that I think is the best.
12. Who is the toughest opponent you’ve opponent you’ve come up against?
I think Ashley Cole, he’s so quick in the way he attacks but he just doesn’t stop running. I remember when I was playing for Burnley it was just like a train! He is the best left-back in the world for me.
13. Finally, who do you think will win this year’s Premier League? Are your old club Manchester United ready to win their 20th title?
Obviously their start has been very good and the lads who have come in like Ashley [Young] who I played with at Watford has done very well. I just think it will be very exciting this year, I heard an interview with Sir Alex saying it’s the best year [for a title race] and I agree with him. Man City have got off to a flyer and looked like they’ve gelled this year. I think everyone is waiting for the Man City v Man United game but it will be a great season and it’s an honour to play in.