It has been more than ten years since the now 34-year-old James McFadden scored that wonder goal in Paris, but he insists that he is still determined to keep on playing. Now plying his trade in the Scottish Championship with Queen of the South, it is his aim to keep on going for as long as possible.
He said: “I’m going to play for as long as I can or as long as somebody wants me. I’ve been playing a few games now and I’m not in a rush to coach or manage. I’m only 34 so it’s not as if it’s something that I’m desperate to get into at this stage.
“I enjoy playing the games and although it’s the league below, it’s still a good standard and I’ll play as long as my body allows me.
“When that time comes, coaching or management is something that I’ll look at.”
As well as signing for Queen of the South in the summer, he has also recently signed for Sky Sports, coming on as a pundit for recent Scotland games.
“I used to get asked a lot when I was younger to go on a radio station here, a TV channel there but I didn’t really want to do it because sometimes I like to switch off. I watched a game when it was on but I didn’t get too carried away with trying to analyse stuff, but now I’m a wee bit older I’ve enjoyed it.
“I love football: I love playing it, I love training and I love talking about it. Now that I’ve done it I have enjoyed it and it is something that there’s no real pressure. When you go into coaching or managing, you could sign a 10 year contract but then sacked in a month and your reputation takes a hit and you need to rebuild. It’s cut throat. If you go in as a young manager and get sacked then you might never get another job.
“You only get one shot at it.
“Whereas, with punditry, I just try to be honest and as positive as I can be and, as I said, I’ve enjoyed it, and when the time comes if there’s some opportunity to do it, then it’s something I’ll seriously consider because I’ve really enjoyed doing it.
“You watch a game differently as a coach: You’re looking at what’s their weaknesses, is there a pattern; how can we exploit it? What’s their strengths; how do we stop it? As a pundit, you’re watching it to put that across; this is why they’re getting so much success, or they’re struggling because they’re not doing this, or they need to stop that. I think it gives you a better understanding of it.”
The year of coaching came last season where he was assistant manager to Mark McGhee and then Stephen Robinson at boyhood club Motherwell, as well as still being registered as a player, but it didn’t quite work for him.
He went on to say: “I wasn’t playing as much as I wanted and I wanted to keep playing. Simple as that. The days that I never got to train, or the times I wasn’t involved, I missed it and I felt as if I could still play.”
When moving on, it wasn’t the division that had the biggest say on Faddy’s move, but the artificial pitch that Queens play and train on.
“When I spoke to the manager, he asked me to come in and he was almost trying to sell it because I was dropping down a level. Initially he was speaking financially, but that wasn’t my concern; it wasn’t about what kind of contract they were going to offer. It was more about could I train every day and play the games on the astro turf. Up until now, I’ve not had any problems. I’m almost used to it. I would obviously prefer to train on grass but I don’t have any problem with it.”
The manager in question is his former team-mate at Everton and Scotland, Gary Naysmith, and McFadden has admiration for how he has earned his stripes.
“He got relegated with East Fife down to League 2, got them promoted, kept them up and he’s learned so much because he’s not in the spotlight, so he can go and make mistakes and he can be forgiven for suffering relegation. If that were in the top flight he’d be sacked, he’d be out of a job and he wouldn’t have a chance to fix it. So he goes there and then he gets a better job and he’s learned.”
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