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This week, we spotlight the Liverpool stalwart Jamie Carragher, who is hanging up his boots this Sunday in a final league game against Queens Park Rangers. You can listen to the report by clicking on the link below, while vocabulary support (in bold) appears at the foot of the report.
Liverpool fans famously sing that they ‘dream of a team of Carraghers, a team of Carraghers‘ (to the tune of Yellow Submarine), in praise of his committed play and never-say-die attitude. And the Red’s defender has been part of the spine of the team for over a decade, becoming one of the top English defenders of his generation. He joined Liverpool’s youth team when he was 12 in 1990, but the boy, born in Bootle, Liverpool, was originally an Everton fan. At that stage, he was an attacking midfielder, but his versatility meant that he was used in various positions, such as defensive midfielder, right back and centre back. It is the final position that he became most comfortable in, and while he wasn’t the quickest defender, his doggedness, bravery in the tackle, and positional sense meant he was an awkward player to play against – his battles with Didier Drogba during the period when Chelsea and Liverpool had some classic encounters in Europe and the Premier League were famous. The Ivorian striker said this week, “I played a lot of games against him and it was always a battle. When I thought I’d won the duel, he’d be there again.”
So in tribute to this great Liverpool and England player, we review his career in numbers:
508: When he takes the field against QPR, Carragher will have pulled on the Liverpool shirt 508 times in the league, with 484 starts. If you count all competitions, on this Sunday he will have played for Liverpool 737 times.
23: His shirt number
5: Total goals scored in his career for Liverpool. He scored on his full debut with a header at the Kop end against Aston Villa, but this did not signal a goal rush Many pundits joke that Carragher gets a nose bleed when he crosses the halfway line. His friend and teammate Steven Gerrard describes Carra this way: “The best defender I’ve played with at Liverpool and the worst finisher I’ve ever played with!”
8: Talking of goals, he has scored more, but at the wrong end of the pitch – eight own goals, including 2 in one game against fierce rivals Manchester United, is a stat he will want to forget.
10: Carragher has won 10 senior trophies with The Reds – 2 FA Cups, 3 League cups, 2 Community Shields, a UEFA Cup, 2 Super cups and a European Cup in the Miracle of Istanbul.
150: The defender played 150 times in Europe – the only Englishman to achieve this feat so far. His last game, against Zenit St Petersburg was a 3-1 victory but that was not enough to keep Liverpool in the Europa League, as they went out on away goals.
38: Carra played for the national team 38 times but became increasingly disillusioned as he was increasingly used as a utility player, filling in and playing out of position,. He retired from international football in 2010.
Jamie Carragher, one of the great English defenders.
never-say-die: never give up; keep on trying; give 100%
the spine of the team: the most important players; the group of players that give a team its shape
versatility: ability to adapt; ability to be able to play in different positions and situations
doggedness: never-say-die attitude; determination; persistence
take the field: start a game
the Kop (end): the area at Anfield where the most vocal home supporters traditionally sit
get a nose bleed: this metaphor is used to indicate that an action is not comfortable or action – here the joke is that Carra can’t attack and f he is an attacking situation, he feels very uncomfortable
own goal: a goal in your own team’s net
feat: achievement; record
Crazy Gang: The nickname for Wimbledon
one down: Losing 0-1
to cap: To finish off