EXCLUSIVE: Gretar Steinsson talks to Football FanCast

Bolton’s start to the season hasn’t been great; what are your ambitions for the rest of the season?

We always knew the start would be difficult. We got really important points at QPR in the beginning and probably the most disappointing was the Norwich game at home but otherwise we knew we had a tough start.

If you look at the same fixtures last year, we got a point against United and then we lost the other games which we played; we lost to Arsenal on the way and we lost to City. When you look at it, you wouldn’t be getting a lot of extra points against same teams last year.

We should go on a decent run after the international break and hopefully start our season; we knew it was going to be difficult and hopefully we’ll get some bonus points against the top teams and even though we gave them a good game last year, we didn’t really get this many points we wanted.

We’ve still got the same ambition as every year to finish as highly as possible and be above the top ten. When you look at the table at this moment, it can knock confidence out of everybody; but we’ve got really experienced players who have been here before and players who know the ability of the team so we haven’t been knocked down at all.

You’ve played over a hundred matches for Bolton, what do you make of think of the Premier League?

It’s tougher than I expected especially with playing in Holland, which is a higher level but playing a game at a higher level there and even playing in Europe, I sometimes felt like I could play two games. The ball possession that the top teams of Holland have against the others make the game on a walking pace; common to come to England and play such a high demand, physical and also mental pressure.

The media makes it a lot of pressure on teams, there’s a lot at stake; lot of money involved for the cups so it makes it so exciting. Everybody can beat everybody and the price of failure is so critical in England that it makes it a little more exciting for everyone that’s involved.

With the success of Eidur Gudjohnsen, was English football always popular in Iceland?

Yes, it’s the first English football I watched in English football when I was younger. They showed one game a week on telly and sometimes the shows develops from other games; obviously just showing the big teams – the top teams – but nevertheless, English football in Iceland is amazing.

You can watch every game and I think there are better sports channels in Iceland than in England because you can see everything ; every game, every goal gets great coverage and obviously Bolton Wanderers, everybody supports Wanderers because it’s a traditional with Icelandic players.

Bolton had a good season last season, what is it about Owen Coyle’s management style getting the best out of players?

I think it’s the possibility that allows everybody to express themselves and go out and enjoy some play. It’s a wild approach but it worked well last year and the players enjoyed playing.

This season and the end of last season knocked us back a little in how we want to play but we still have a belief in how we play and how we should play; this is the way that we believe we will get our points.

Were you surprised to see Gary Cahill staying at Bolton and how much of a bonus would that be that he’s still here?

I was really surprised that he stayed because I thought that some great club would come in and use his service but it’s fantastic for us. There’s a lot of money involved in valuation of players but my personal view on Gary Cahill is that he’s worth every pound because he’s a fantastic guy with a fantastic ability.

A couple of days after being in the ‘limbo’ staying or going, he pops up with a fantastic goal – the first goal in the senior cup for England that showed his strength and I’m sure that coming January, a lot of clubs would be very interested in his service.

At the moment, he’s a Bolton Wanderers player and he really enjoys playing with Bolton and he’s settled in really well with the boys in town. He lives locally so he knows what’s going on and knows what we want and he’s determined to do his best until he’s told where to go next.

Would you ever consider a move from Bolton?

You never know what happens; you have to get to know what you want in your career and where you want to go. At this moment, I haven’t thought about it as I’m really pleased living in the area and I’ve enjoyed more than hundred games for Bolton and I still have the same ambitions to go as high as possible.

I want to play in Europe again, I think that’s a fantastic thing to do and I’ve enjoyed that with all the clubs I’ve played with previously. More often like Fulham and Stoke City are doing now; going to Europe and playing the best in Europe is something Bolton should aim for.

In your opinion, who is to lead one of the best and most unsung players in the Premier League?

Because I’m such a big fan of my own team, I would narrow it to two players. I would say that Chung-Yong Lee is probably the most amazing talent that I’ve seen and worked with and Stuart Holden, who has unfortunately come back from a really difficult injury.

No one knew how big an injury or how mentally strong he is to come back and fight and unfortunately he’s had a little setback that has got nothing to do with himself. He comes back stronger; he’s got that mentality who drives people on with his positivity and bubbly character that can’t go unnoticed in the dressing room.

Those two players are definitely ‘missed’ players at the moment, but fantastic players that have definitely made their mark in the team and in the dressing room.

Who’s the hardest opponent you’ve faced?

You’ve got really difficult players; in England you go against the best. You’ve got Pienaar at Tottenham (he’s really tough), Ronaldo, Rooney, Nani, Ashley… I can go on and keep counting as every player’s different; if you allow space, players can go on and do unbelievable things.

You have to be really respectful because you don’t want to mention someone and leave someone out because they will come back and hurt you.

Internationally, probably Kaká or Sneijder who are both fantastic players. Unfortunately, Sneijder didn’t join United but I think he would be a great addition to English football if he ever gets a chance to come over.

What do you make of Carlos Tevez who used to play for City, has that made you think any less of him as a fellow pro?

No, I think what happens if the player’s got personal problems, I think that maybe some different way to go, if there were communication problems. I don’t know the truth so it’s hard for me to go and be involved when there are two stories, it’s not up to me to criticise anyone because you never know what really happened.

I’ve been involved where I’ve seen players refuse to play, but not so publicly, if that was the case but there’s always reasons and times are changing and different things are happening. In that incident, I don’t know the full story, I don’t know what is right or wrong so I’m not going criticise someone if a communication problem, or something deeper, was involved.

What are your thoughts on the Premier League ahead; do you think City or Chelsea can take the title off United?

I think there’s really exciting years ahead in the Premier League. You see Man City going strength to strength; you see players that Man City have bought before going between clubs and making them stronger as well.

Liverpool have been spending a lot of money as well, you see Chelsea always a big threat. It’s going to be tight, how United has started is obviously fantastic and if they can keep it up, they’ll be a big force this year but Chelsea is fantastic; Torres is coming back and looks to be back in form and Sturridge, we just know here in Bolton how good Sturridge is and we know he’s going to show his qualities.

I think this season’s going to be stronger because of City becoming a bigger force and Chelsea’s made some really good signs and that’s got them quality already.

Some quick questions now, what’s the first match you ever went to?

I went in England to see Everton against Ajax in a summer competition.

Who’s the best player you’ve ever played with or against?

I really liked playing with Eidur Gudjohnsen, he’s quite a big legend in Iceland and he’s done really well. He’s probably got more respect abroad than he got in Iceland for what he has achieved so knowing how good of a player he is, he’s probably the best player I’ve played with.

As for best player I’ve played against, there are simply too many players I’ve played against that due to respect to everyone involved, I’d rather not name anyone.

What’s the best goal you’ve ever scored?

The best goal I’ve ever scored was probably at my international debut against Brazil in Brazil before the World Cup 2002. I came on as a sub and dribbled past a couple of players and then placed in a goal.

I can’t believe it’s not on YouTube!

If you weren’t a footballer, what do you think you’d be doing?

I would definitely be a family lawyer; a family solicitor. I think they’re probably of pure selflessness, I would do that because I know that of my own experience, they’re the people that could… Well, I’m not saying that I would like to be them because of how the people are – I don’t know if a family solicitor is actually a good person.

So, I’m going to say that as a solicitor in Britain, I’d probably be a family solicitor.

What’s the best stadium you’ve played at?

I really like St James’ Park, the atmosphere is absolutely amazing and the passion they have there is phenomenal.

Which player would you like to have a pint with?

I’d probably give them a diet coke – they would have a pint of coke. I think I would like to sit down with Gary Neville; even though he’s not a current player, I think he’s one of the few players who speaks his mind and knows exactly what he’s on about.

He’s criticised for what he says but you need to admire his thoughts of saying things and going exactly where he wants. If we ever have a chat, I’ll give him a diet coke – or even a full fat coke if he wants.

Who’s the longest in the shower?

I’ll have to name a former player – Tamir Cohen. He showered before training and he was still in the shower after training.


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