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Bolton legend is Macca’s best ever but Andy Carroll could be up there too

Bolton's Youri Djorkaeff celebrates a goal with Anthony Barness (Jed Leicester/EMPICS) Bolton's Youri Djorkaeff celebrates a goal with Anthony Barness (Jed Leicester/EMPICS)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014
3:00 PM

A plethora of talented footballers have passed through the hands of West Ham’s Neil McDonald during his coaching career, but when it comes to naming the best of them, he has little hesitation.

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Youri Djorkaeff celebrates France's Euro 2000 success (Nick Potts/EMPICS)Youri Djorkaeff celebrates France's Euro 2000 success (Nick Potts/EMPICS)

“Without a shadow of a doubt, Youri Djorkaeff,” said McDonald.

“He came from Kaiserslautern and is one of the few players to come from abroad and adjust to the Premier League just like that.

“His touch, his awareness, his finishing, everything he did was top, top, top, top class.

“And for me as a young coach at Bolton to coach a World Cup winner like him and for him to listen to me, made me feel special.”

The Bolton team that ‘Macca’ and Sam Allardyce built certainly had some fine players.

“There were skilful players like JJ Okocha, there has been a fair few. Ivan Campo as well,” he said.

“There were players at Blackburn too who were fantastic and certainly players at West Ham who we have got who are really, really good.”

One Hammer that McDonald hopes to add to that illustrious list is current centre forward Andy Carroll who rates so highly.

“Hopefully Andy is going to be one of the best I ever coach,” he said. “As a centre forward he is totally different to someone like Djorkaeff, but he has strengths that far outweigh many other players.

“Forgetting about what the opposition think of him, the team that he is playing with have so much confidence.

“His attributes are holding the ball up, his link-up play and attacking the ball with his head. We need him in the team as much as we can to try and get us up the league and to get him on to that plane for Brazil.

“That is the challenge for us.”

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