2020.07.13

Jay Bothroid came to Japan with a hunger.”J-League is not easy.”

  • text by Yoichi Igawa
  • photo by Matsuoka Kenzaburo

"I thought it was a joke at first," Bothroyd laughs. "So I replied to them, 'Who is this?' and they said 'It's the England FA'. 'For real?' and they said, 'Yes, you are called up to the national team, and will meet us at this hotel...' It's funny, that's how they did it!"

The next day, Bothroyd went to the hotel and the then-captain Steven Gerrard introduced him to all teammates. Rio Ferdinand was also very nice to him, but of course he was overwhelmed by Capello's authority.

"He is a bit smaller than I imagined, but he has a big aura. When he walked into the room, everybody was chatting but became quiet. I actually nearly got into trouble at the first meal. I was coming down in my flip-flops and Steven Gerrard came to me and said, 'Go upstairs and change them because the boss doesn't like that'. He gave me the advice to avoid possible trouble. He was a great captain, and it was very nice to train with such top players."

Bothroyd played the final 18 minutes of the friendly against France, earning his first cap. That was to be his only national team game experience at 28 years of age, but it marked a huge achievement brought about by a change in attitude.

"When I was younger my attitude was not great. I almost wasted my talent. When you are young, you don't think about your long-term career, you just think you can play football forever. But professional football is a short career, you have to make the most of each day. When you're young you waste your time, and then you are 26 or 27 and realise you are not young anymore. Sometimes it can be too late. But for me I realised that at good age, and I built my strategy and mind to get where I wanted to be - taking steps, getting to the highest level, and playing for my country and in the Premier League."