defender because, just as it looks as if he’s lost it, he’ll pop it through his marker’s legs and out to you. And if you’re not ready for it, he’ll roast you.
He’s such a strong personality, Eric. When we won the title for the first time, it was just after he’d arrived and a lot of us players, including me, were saying: ‘OK, but when the going gets tough, where will he be?’ It’s proved exactly the opposite. Given the amount of stick he got in the press, he had to be a big man to shrug it off. And I’ve never known a player want to get involved like he does, demanding the ball all the time. Even if he’s having a bad game, he’ll work hard for the team.
He didn’t even have that good a game against Chelsea in the Cup final against Chelsea, but when it came to taking the penalties, he grabbed the ball. There was no question in his mind he was going to take them, and no doubt in my mind he was going to score. Brucie couldn’t watch. He sat on the halfway line, facing the other way. But I could watch. With Eric, you know it will go in.
All that stuff about 'the ball responding to my touch like a woman to the caresses of a man she loves' makes us laugh too, but the thing about Eric is he works so hard to justify the poetry. When you see Eric Cantona staying on for extra training, brushing up on his skills, it makes you realise you can’t be satisfied with what you’re doing. In the end, though, it doesn’t matter what we call each other, who can dance, or who dresses