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A-Z: Richie Smallwood

This season, we're introducing a new feature, bringing Rovers fans that bit closer to members of the current first-team squad

16 February 2019

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This season, we're introducing a new feature, bringing Rovers fans that bit closer to members of the current first-team squad.

The idea is simple: 26 questions, one for each letter of the alphabet, with subjects ranging from the players' favourite holiday destinations to the strangest things they've ever seen.

Next up in A-Z is Richie Smallwood, who discusses playing with Spanish internationals, stacking shelves and being unfortunate in goal!

A – AWAY -What is your favourite away ground that you've played at?

I’d go with The Boleyn Ground, West Ham’s old stadium. I played there with Middlesbrough once and we drew 1-1, which wasn’t a bad result at all. The atmosphere was brilliant and the anthem when you come out of the tunnel is pretty iconic in English football.

B – BANTER – Who's got the best banter in the squad?

DG. I can’t help but just laugh at him every single day!

C – CLUB – What football team do you support?

I supported Manchester United when I was younger, just because my older cousin did. Nowadays I’d have to say Middlesbrough is my team.

D – DINING – What would be your last three-course meal?

I’d have mussels to start, spaghetti bolognese for the main and sticky toffee pudding to finish things off.

E – EVENINGS – A quiet night in or a night out with the lads? Why?

A bit of both to be honest. I’d maybe edge towards a night in with the missus these days.

F – FOREIGN – What's your favourite holiday destination and why?

I’d have to say Bali. Me and my wife went there for our honeymoon and it was an amazing place. It’s absolutely beautiful there.

G – GAME – What's been your favourite football game you've ever played in?

It has to be the play-off Final at Wembley with Rotherham. I scored the fifth penalty before our ‘keeper saved one just after I stuck it away.

H – HOBBIES – What do you like to get up to away from football?

Golf’s the main one. I play off 12. I like anything sporty though. I read that Danny said I am good at all sports, but I’d consider myself to be alright at them rather than good!

I – IDOL – Who was your favourite footballer as a youngster and why?

Steven Gerrard. The ability and leadership he had both on and off the pitch was phenomenal. The way he led Liverpool for 10 years or so, winning trophies when I was growing up, it was brilliant.

J – JOBS – Have you had any other jobs aside from playing football?

I did some work experience when I was at school. I signed up to get involved in an army week, mainly because I thought it would be away from school, but they came to us instead. I also did a week at Tesco, but it was during the week when Middlesbrough were playing in the UEFA Cup Final. Because of that I had three of the five days off as I had to travel to Eindhoven. I still got a box of chocolates for the time I was at Tesco, so I must have done alright during the two days I was there!

K – KID – What were you like as a young boy?

I was always out playing football. I’d get in from school, have my tea at 3.30pm and then go straight out to play. I’d bring the ball, net, goal, gloves. It would be like a giant game of five-a-side with all the kids in my village!

L – LOATH – What annoys you the most and why?

I’d say I’m quite relaxed, to be honest. I try not to let things bother me. If I was to think of one thing then it would probably be lateness.

M – MUSIC – What sort of music are you into and what's your favourite ever tune?

I like to listen to most genres apart from heavy rock. Maybe one of the Coldplay tunes would be my favourite. I like them, U2, Oasis… I actually heard Half The World Away by Oasis last night for the first time in a while. Go with that one.

N – NICKNAME – What's the best nickname you've come across in your footballing career?

It’s hard to think of one, but I’ve just seen Craig Conway get out of his car and ‘Bull’ isn’t a bad one to have. Yeah, go with Craig’s.

O – OPTIMISM – What would you like to achieve in your career?

To play as many games as possible and to achieve as many promotions as I can.

P – PETS – Do you have any pets?

I don’t, no. But my mother-in-law has a dog that I sometimes walk along the beach when I am back home. It’s a cocker spaniel called Teddy. I don’t like keeping them in the house, so we’re always out walking him.

Q – QUALITY – Who's the best player you've ever played with or against and why?

Either Gaizka Mendieta or Jonathan Woodgate. Mendieta could do it all, and his attitude in training, when he wasn’t involved, he’d train with the reserves and he was amazing. Being so young, to train and play with him, his ability was second to none. Even on Saturdays when we’d have a midweek game, he didn’t have to come in but he would, and get involved with all the gym work. Woodgate was a top class defender who made it look so easy. Even in five-a-sides his team would always win! He was so organised and a great talker.

R – RAPID – Who's the quickest player you've played with or against?

I’ve played against Adama Traore, and it wasn’t great when we were 4-0 down and he’s coming off the bench with 15 minutes to go with energy to burn! I’d also say Muzzy Carayol, who I played with at Middlesbrough, who was extremely quick over five yards or so.

S – STRANGE – What's the strangest thing you've seen in your life?

When I was at Middlesbrough we had a lad called Bart Ogbeche. He used to come in dressed head to toe in Louis Vuitton. He had the belt, the trousers, socks, shoes, shirt. You name it, he had it. He played at PSG when he was 17 I think and was part of the Nigeria World Cup squad in 2002 with all their stars.

T – TELEVISION – What do you like to watch on the TV and why?

I like all the true stories. Things like Piers Morgan’s Killer Men and Killer Women, Trevor McDonald, when he goes into prisons, that sort of thing. I’ve got Silent Witness on my planner at the moment, which is saved to watch with the missus.

U – UNKNOWN – Tell us something that people don't know about you.

I broke my leg when I was four. I broke it playing football against a lad in my village, who at the time would have been around 14. I was in goal in his garden, came out to tackle him and he landed on my leg. Luckily it was a clean break and it healed back stronger than ever!

V – VIDEO GAMES – Do you own a games console and if so how often do you play it?

I have a console, but I never play it. I only use it to stream things on Netflix.

W – WORLD – Where would you most like to visit in your life?

I’d like to see more of America, aside from Vegas. I have been there twice but didn’t see much of it! I’d also like to go to Australia to watch the Boxing Day test match. I’m a big cricket fan, I support Yorkshire. Test cricket is what people call boring, but I like it.

X – XYLOPHONE – Can you play any musical instruments?

No, but I’d love to play the guitar and become a singer/songwriter.

Y – YIKES – Do you have a fear of anything?

As I’m getting older I’m scared of most things. Heights, spiders, rollercoaster rides. I’d go on a ride, but only once. That would be my lot.

Z – ZODIAC – What's your star sign?


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