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John Hartson Interview at Pencoed college on the 13/10/03 by Ross Williams
Question 1: How did you get spotted as a youngster?

Hartson: Well, I was spotted by a man called Ceryl Beach from Merthyr when I was 10 years old playing for Lonlas Football club in skewen.

Question 2: Who was your role model as a kid?

Hartson : Being a Liverpool fan and being Welsh Ian Rush was my favourite, but I also looked up to players like Mark Hughes and Ceri Dixon.

Question 3: What was you're proudest moment of your Welsh Career?

Hartson: Thereís a couple, especially the Italy game were we beat the 2-1 ,And not the away game. Also on my debut against Scotland were I scored my first International Goal , that was really special. Not to forget the Finland game which kick started our qualifying campaign.

Question 4: What are your favourite hobbies besides football?

Hartson: Having a family I like spending my time with them and I also like to play some golf , and not to mention going down the pub for a drink with my mates (John smiles).

Question 5: Is playing international football much tougher than playing at club level?

Hartson: Totally different, itís a different pressure. I've got a different system with Wales. The role I play for Wales which is playing upfront on my own is tough. (hartson says that Mark Hughes is changing the system for the game against Serbia tomorrow night)

Question 6: Who are the toughest defenders you have played against?

Hartson: Thereís a few, but all the defenders at the top level are tough, but I would have to say Tony Adams, Gary pallister and Alessandro Nesta and Fabio Cannavaro were very good.

Question 7: Who is the best Striker you have played alongside?

Hartson: Well henrik larsson is phenomenal, Di canio was one of them. And I managed to play a couple of games for Wales alongside Mark Hughes up front and he was class.

Question 8: What's the best team youíve played for?

Hartson: I would have to say Celtic. And Arsenal were good.

Question 9: What club would you like to end your career at?

Hartson: One place were I would want to is down at the vetch. My whole family and friends are Swansea fans and I was brought up around that area. I can remember being in the north bank when I was about 13 and it was tremendous.

Question 10: What do you think about the future of Welsh Football?

Hartson: I donít know really, I donít know what's coming through at the moment at U17 level up to the U21ís. the Under 21ís have wan 1 match in what, about 30 games?. You will have to ask these guys about that (John points to Malcolm Allen and Jason perry next to him). But we will see in the next month what the future will be, obviously with the qualifiers.

Question 11: What is your biggest low in your career?

Hartson: Failing  medicals I would have to say, I was about to sign for Rangers when I failed a medical because of a knee injury, But Martin O'Neill said he will sign me whatever happens. And since then I havenít missed a training session in what, 2 years, my knee is great know.

Question 12: What is running through your mind when the national anthem is played at the Millennium stadium?

Hartson: Well your childhood comes into mind and everything you wanted to be, I cant just cry because that would be embarrassing( john laughs).

Question 13: What's it like playing in the Champions league?

Hartson: Same as International level really, its very demanding and your playing against the best teams and players in the world.

Question 14: Before a Wales game, what is the atmosphere like in the dressing room? And is Mark Hughes patriotic whilst giving his team talk?

Hartson: No not really, Mark Is quiet and just acts professionally, eddie the assistant talks more than him. The boys are always trying to get themselves fired up and I always go around getting everybody in the spirit.

Question 15: being that you supported Liverpool as a kid and then Knocking them out of the Uefa cup, did that make you feel bad with yourself?

Hartson: No, its didnít really bother me, it is something I will never forget. Because we went there and nobody gave us a chance so it was a memorable moment to beating them.

Question 16: What was your feelings when you missed the Uefa cup finals?

Hartson: I was down but I thought to myself Iíve got so much to look forward to with Wales and Celtic.

Question 17: What got you started in football in the first place?

Hartson: Well it was my father, he played a very good standard of football in the Welsh premier league so when I was 6 I started playing.

Question 18: What did Buffon say to you when you squared up to him in the Italy away game?

Hartson: (laughs) Well it was nothing really, he pushed bellamy I think so I went up to him, but it was nothing, and the fans loved.

Question 19: At the away Italy game did you notice the trouble that was going on?

Hartson: Well no not really but I notice the way it was all set out and that anybody could throw stuff over the top. I only realised how bad it was until read the reports.

Question 20: Does Mark Hughes concentrate more on the opponents?

Hartson: Yes he does a lot actually, we always go through videos of our next opponent to see what style they play and for tactical reasons. Martin up in Celtic doesnít concentrate on the opponents.

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