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Friday 05 April 2013

'Bryan Robson was the ultimate all-round footballer'

From favourite goals to hardest opponents, Cyrille Regis reponds to your Twitter questions

  • Powerhouse striker Regis helped Albion come third in the old First Division in 1978/79

  • Cyrille Regis has been impressed by the way West Brom have played this term

Cyrille Regis helped West Bromwich Albion finish third in the Old First Division in 1978/79 and enjoyed a glittering 19-year career in football. Still regarded highly by Baggies supporters the former England striker answered your questions fans had put to him on Twitter.

Twitter questions for Cyrille Regis

What was the best goal you scored in your career? (Olatunji Idris @idrisharold)

Cyrille Regis: I think it was the one I scored in the 1981/82 season in the fourth round of the FA Cup against Norwich. Alistair Brown knocked it on to me from just inside the area, I controlled it on my chest, rolled Martin O’Neill and Steve Walford and pinged it in from 25 yards past Chris Woods. It won goal of the month for February and was picked as goal of the season for that season.

"He was such a fantastic player. He had pace, he could read the game, he could go forward, he could play in midfield, he was just an absolute genius at the back"
Cyrille Regis

Who was the hardest defender you played against?(Paul Denton @dentmanncfc and Sergio Alvarado @Gio7ManUtd)
Cyrille Regis: If you talk about physically intimidating players, I remember as a young player having real tough time against Paul Hart and Kenny Burns. In those days you could tackle from behind unlike nowadays where it’s a bit softer and you can’t touch a forward.

In terms of the best centre-halves I played against, there are two of them: Alan Hansen was fantastic; he could read the game, he was quick, you really had to have your wits about you when you played him. I thought he was one of the best. Also, someone I played with for two years at Aston Villa was Paul McGrath. He was such a fantastic player. He had pace, he could read the game, he could go forward, he could play in midfield, he was just an absolute genius at the back.

Who is your favourite Albion player of all time... and why? (Steven Butler @ProEVOStevoWBA)
Cyrille Regis: The best all-round player I played with or against was Bryan Robson, who I played with at West Brom. He was a fantastic player; he had everything you want a footballer to have. Personality, leadership skills, strength, stamina, touch, goalscoring: he was the best all-round footballer I played with or against.

Lukaku promise

How far do you think Romelu Lukaku can go? Do you think he can reach the level of the likes of Wayne Rooney (@hammoudfadel)
Cyrille Regis: For a 19-year-old he’s done very well. Going back to your question about who has stood out for West Brom, he’s impacted West Brom big time. He’s been excellent since he’s come here, a real handful when he comes on, he frightens defences, he’s strong he’s powerful and I think he’s really enjoyed himself at West Brom. Hopefully, we can keep him for next year.

Does Lukaku have the potential to be the best player ever to play for West Bromwich Albion? (Lewis sayer @2Sayer)
Cyrille Regis: Well, I don’t know. He’s got to get past me and Tony Brown (laughs)! And Bryan Robson, Laurie Cunningham and Derek Statham, all these boys. At the end of the day he’s a Chelsea player, who just wants to progress his career, but whether he gets in the Chelsea side or not is a different story. Every player wants to play in the Premier League and he’s done his cause no harm at all.

"I do admire David Beckham. He ticks every box. Not only is he a fantastic footballer, he’s motivated, he loves the game"
Cyrille Regis

Who do you most admire as a footballer today?
(Nick Hill @NickHillBaggies)

Cyrille Regis: There are loads. But I do admire David Beckham. He ticks every box. Not only is he a fantastic footballer, he’s motivated, he loves the game. You can put him in any situation and he will be flexible and adapt to what is required. He still wants to play football. He loves football. He will travel four or five thousand miles to play one game, unlike some players who curtail their England career by not playing one game. So I think he’s got a mentality and character that ticks every box as a footballer.

Where would Laurie Cunningham rank against the likes of today’s top Premier League stars and Ronaldo and Messi? (Ant Stokes @amsriverkid)
Cyrille Regis: There was a documentary about Laurie a couple of weeks back which showed who he was and what sort of player he was. He had massive potential. The sad thing we never really saw it fulfilled as we should have done due to injuries and his premature death in a car crash. But he had the potential to be as good as Messi and Ronaldo – 100 per cent.

Top three managers

Who is the best manager you worked under? (Reiss Potter @Reisswba1)
Cyrille Regis: There are three. Ronnie Allen in the late 1970s was a fantastic manager for me. He gave me a chance after seeing me play for Hayes in Middlesex. He persuaded them to pay £10,000 and then he became the manager and gave me a chance. You do need people to believe in you.

Afterwards, Ron Atkinson was great. I played for him in two spells. He was a great man-manager, he would kick you up the backside but could also make you feel 10-foot tall. He was a great leader who loved the game and was a great personality. And there was John Sillett of Coventry. We won the FA Cup in 1987. He could also get that extra 5 or 10% out of an individual and he created a fantastic team spirit. They were three great managers to work with.

"I think Alex Ferguson is a genius, to do what he has done for 25, 26 years and keep winning trophies"
Cyrille Regis

Who do you consider the best team in the world? (Ellie Harwood @elliebelliewba)
Cyrille Regis:
You can’t really look much farther than Barcelona. I’m a great admirer of Man United. I think Sir Alex Ferguson is a genius. To keep going for 25, 26 years, change the team every two or three years, moving on great players like Mark Hughes, Bryan Robson, Roy Keane and still win trophies. And he still uses youngsters, while some of the big teams like Chelsea and Man City don’t use youngsters. Ferguson’s not afraid to throw young players in, be patient with them and give them experience. And it’s worked for them. He’s been phenomenal at Man United.

What was the best thing about being a footballer? (Dan Van Emerywinkel @emerygunner)
Cyrille Regis: When you’re a professional footballer you’re living the dream. I’m a former electrician and worked on a building site for three years and if you’d said you’re going to play football with your team-mates around the world, keeping yourself fit, working an hour-and-a-half a day for 19 years, you tell me what young boy wouldn’t want to do that. I think if you love football playing at Man United, Liverpool, Tottenham, Wembley, it’s every boy’s dream.

Cyrille Regis is an ambassador for Barclays' 'Don't pass it, ping it' campaign. Pingit is revolutionary technology developed by Barclays which allows people to transfer money to each other using their mobile phone. Users do not need to be a Barclays customer. For more info go to www.barclays.co.uk.

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Key Points

  • Cyrille Regis answers your Twitter questions
  • Former Baggies striker says Kenny Burns and Paul Hart were the hardest opponents he ever faced
  • Regis also explains why he holds David Beckham in such high regard