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30 years after facing West Germany at Italia 90 Euronews speaks to English footballer Trevor Steven

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30 years after facing West Germany at Italia 90 Euronews speaks to English footballer Trevor Steven
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He's the former English footballer who rose to fame playing for Burnley, Everton, Rangers and Marseille.

He won 36 international caps for England including playing in the 1986 World Cup against Maradona.

He’s currently based in Dubai and is Chairman of WorldClassFootball.net

Euronews' Jane Witherspoon spoke to Trevor Steven about his colourful career:

Jane Witherspoon, Euronews

Take us back to the early days and how you got into football.

Trevor Steven, Former England Footballer

Footballing careers start at around 16 years old. I left home at 16 and literally started a whole new life. I was studying at school. I was good at school, but I had this option to go and be a footballer. And back in the day, you became an apprentice. So Burnley Football Club was my first team. It was a dream come true, Honestly, when I was at school, I couldn't dream that far ahead.

You just take every day as it comes. And that's literally what I did. And just took it step by step, I ended up having a very successful career.

Jane Witherspoon, Euronews

Well, you did and you played for some of the biggest teams in Europe, particularly in the UK. You had a big career at Everton. Alex Ferguson, the former manager of Manchester United wanted you for a while, didn't he?

Trevor Steven, Former England Footballer

Yeah, he did. I could have gone on to Manchester United after my Everton days. But I actually went to Glasgow Rangers. It wasn't even controversial back then. It would be controversial now.

It's good. The game changes. Big teams can change. Manchester United have always been there. But Glasgow Rangers back in the day were a big side. I chose to go there. Graeme Souness, (the captain of the successful Liverpool team of the early 1980s, player-manager of Rangers in the late 1980s and captain of the Scotland national team) was the manager and I enjoyed my time in Scotland.

I'm from near Scotland, so it was almost like going home . As a footballer back then but different to now, where the Premier League attracts all the players and everybody wants to come to the Premier League. I was in the era where it was great to move abroad.

Jane Witherspoon, Euronews

You went to Marseilles

Trevor Steven, Former England Footballer

I went to Marseille and I had an amazing time in Marseille. But I was playing with Didier Deschamps! Didier and myself in midfield Jean-Pierre Papin the legend that is Marseilles.

Jane Witherspoon, Euronews

So how was it? This boy from the north of England moving to the south of France to play internationally?

Trevor Steven, Former England Footballer

It's a journey, obviously. I had, you know, a few years in football before I made the trip over to France. But when you're a footballer, you've got to do things very quickly. At 16, I've got to make my impact really by 18, 19 at the latest.

So you've got to learn quickly because you're going into an adult world and you've got to realise that you're no longer a schoolboy kicking a ball, you’re now dealing with adults. You go into a dressing room and you’re 16, 17, and there are 31-year-olds, 32-year-olds who have already done the journey.

And you've got to compete against them and their knowledge in their and their ambitions to continue playing.

Jane Witherspoon, Euronews

You didn't do too badly because you played for England and you've been in the World Cup, I think you got through to the semi-finals.

Trevor Steven, Former England Footballer

I played in two World Cups. So I played in the infamous game of Maradona, the hand of God.

Jane Witherspoon, Euronews

What was that like?

Trevor Steven, Former England Footballer

Well, it was very hot. I tell you, in Mexico City in the summer of 86. And there was the Argentina Britain issue. And so that added to the whole occasion.

But to play against Maradona at that time was unbelievable. You know, I couldn't…I had to pinch myself.

You know, four, five years prior to that I was at school. And then all of a sudden I'm on this massive stage Azteca Stadium in Mexico City.

Jane Witherspoon, Euronews

When you've been at the very peak of your game, there sometimes comes with a bit of a fall. We hear a lot of sports stars who are suffering from depression. I think at the moment.

Trevor Steven, Former England Footballer

It's a topic, isn't it?

Jane Witherspoon, Euronews

A very much a trending topic where people are coming forward. How do they deal with that?

Trevor Steven, Former England Footballer

Well, it's been one of those things that have been swept under the carpet. And people are being bolder now and encouraged to talk about how they feel. It's a difficult, difficult thing.

And I think in sport, because of that sudden end, it takes people a while to adjust to the fact that the phone is no longer gonna ring.

You're not getting jobs anymore. You've got no routine. You don't have a purpose when you wake up in the morning where it's all you're already geared to go into your football club and see your team-mates and enjoy that camaraderie that was there.

When that's no longer there it's really tough, but it's great to see Prince William, Prince Harry. They've been very open about it.

Jane Witherspoon, Euronews

Their mental health struggles.

Trevor Steven, Former England Footballer

Yeah, what they've had to go through and I think where it's coming from, that high-level people start to take notice. And that's been a great thing.

Jane Witherspoon, Euronews

So once your professional football career ended, you made a very successful transition into a new career and you chose to move to Dubai. Why was that?

Trevor Steven, Former England Footballer

I've been here nearly eight years now and love the environment, love the city of Dubai. But you've got to keep business going and to develop, you know, as an individual.

So I’ve got into various things. I have a kind of a branch of a company that's UK based called Play on Pro, Play on Pro is about keeping the sportspeople together after they retire from sport.

Again Dubai is somewhere that footballers love to come, so I get a lot of these people coming through and I can meet up with them and tell them about what we're doing now. We're trying to build this and keep this camaraderie.

Jane Witherspoon, Euronews

We've got quite a few football academies here. Have you ever been part of those or is that not a direction for you?

Trevor Steven, Former England Footballer

No, it's not. It's not something that I've ever really wanted to do for me. My daughter left Dubai educated here and also developed her footballing skills here.

So she's joined Reading Football Club in the UK and she's only just 17.

She's at the John Madejski Academy over there. So she’s doing her A-Levels in the UK and doing football training.

Jane Witherspoon, Euronews

So it's the 30th anniversary this year of something else. The Italian World Cup that you played in.

Trevor Steven, Former England Footballer

Firstly, it was a boyhood dream to play in the World Cup and played in the one before the ’86 World Cup.

But ‘90 was amazing. As you say, it's 30 years since that, which is a bit frightening, when I'm sitting here looking back because it feels like yesterday.

And a lot of the modern-day footballers, it was their first real insight into what a World Cup was.

I'm talking about the likes of Steven Gerrard... (English professional football manager and former player who now manages Scottish Premiership club Rangers. He spent the majority of his playing career as a central midfielder for Liverpool, with most of that time spent as club captain, as well as captaining the England national team.)

...and even the younger guys, you know, Harry Kane (Harry Edward Kane MBE is an English professional footballer who plays as a striker for Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur and captains the England national team.)

They always reference Italia 90 as the one that they remember.

Jane Witherspoon, Euronews

I remember Gazza crying! (Paul John Gascoigne is an English former professional football player and manager. He is also known by his nickname, Gazza. He earned 57 caps during his England career. The National Football Museum stated that he is "widely recognised as the most naturally talented English footballer of his generation")

Trevor Steven, Former England Footballer

Well Gazza was the boy of the moment wasn’t he

Jane Witherspoon, Euronews

He was

Trevor Steven, Former England Footballer

And he was just brilliant. I played with them at Glasgow Rangers as well, but playing for England and Italia 90, when he made the difference between us being an average team, and being a potential winner.

Yes, so brilliant memories. Bobby Robson was the manager and it was just a thrilling, thrilling experience. We had some brilliant players like Chris Waddle, Gary himself upfront and Paul Gascoigne in midfield.

Terrific footballers. And we were very close. We went out on penalties in the semi-final and felt that we could have won it. But football's all about if’s, but’s and maybe’s.

(Christopher Roland Waddle is an English former professional football player and manager. He currently works as a commentator and pundit. Nicknamed "Magic Chris", football journalist Luke Ginnell wrote that Waddle was "widely acknowledged as one of the finest attacking midfielders in Europe.”)

(Gary Winston Lineker OBE is an English former professional footballer and current sports broadcaster. He holds England's record for goals in the FIFA World Cup finals, with 10 scored.)

Jane Witherspoon, Euronews

But I think as well, that team that you mention, it changed things. That was the cusp of the footballers becoming superstars that we see today.

Trevor Steven, Former England Footballer

It was because the Premier League came in ’91, ’91 or ’92 I think it was so, there was a real reaction, kind of bonded England together.

Jane Witherspoon, Euronews

What does the future hold for you?

Trevor Steven, Former England Footballer

Well, I've tried to grow the businesses, you know, the world-class football and play on pro time, try and build those up. Anything to do with keeping in touch with the game as what I really love and enjoy.

So any opportunity that comes my way in that regard or talking about the game and talking about the differences in the game, I really enjoy that. It gets my juices going. Anything to do with football.

Jane Witherspoon, Euronews

Trevor Steven, and thank you so much for talking to us.

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