During his career, Jamie O’Hara faced some of the best players the Premier League had to offer. Read on below to find out Jamie’s top five players he played against.
5. Jack Wilshere
I played against him when he first came on the scene at Arsenal, when he was what, 17? When he was peak Wilshere at 17 years of age, it was ridiculous how good he was. I remember playing against him at the Emirates and I was thinking this kid is 17 – I had been playing and I was established in the team – and I’m going to give him the run around. It was the complete opposite, he was unbelievable.
His touch, his vision, his pace to get away from people in the middle of the park. He would get it; he would stand you up and go past you. He was frightening for how good he was at that age, and I remember when he played Barcelona and tore them apart., Jack Wilshere has to be in there. He was sensational.
It’s sad really, the injuries he has faced, and hasn’t reached the levels he really should have reached but, yeah, he was unbelievable.
4. Mousa Dembele
I am going to throw another curveball at you here and I know a lot of Spurs players will agree with me here when I say Moussa Dembele. In his peak, he was ridiculous. He was strong as an ox, he was both-footed, he would stand you up in the midfield and go past you like he was playing on the wing; he was absolutely brilliant, and you couldn’t get near him.
As soon as he left Spurs, they completely changed as a team, and he is another one that did not get the plaudits he deserved in the Premier League.
3. Wayne Rooney
It has to be Wayne in those glory years of Manchester United, when he was playing in that number ten role, playing with Tevez, Ronaldo and Giggs. He was just a joke. He could do everything, he could get the ball on the half turn and score from anywhere, pass it 70 yards, he was fitter than everyone else, he was stronger than everyone else, he had a better mentality than everyone else and he had that horrible edge about him where he wanted to win.
You could see it in his eyes halfway through a game. Even if they were winning three, four-nil and he hadn’t scored, he was like ‘I’ve got to score’. You’d be losing four-nil and you’d be like ‘Wazza, mate, give it a rest will ya, you’re four-nil up! We’re getting pumped here and you’re still running around like a mad man!’ but that just shows how good he was.
2. Paul Scholes
There are only two players I have ever played against and realised I was nowhere near their level, and number two is one of my all-time idols when I was growing up, and that is Paul Scholes.
Playing against Paul Scholes, I was in awe of him. I remember him being on the bench and I was jogging down the side of the pitch at Tottenham v Man United and he was just standing there doing some stretches and I ran down there, standing next to him doing some stretches like a kid I was! He turned round and was like ‘You alright, Jamie?’ and I was like, ‘He knows my name! Paul Scholes knows who I am!’ and then I walked on the pitch, and I was playing against him.
I remember playing against him for Wolves against Man United, they came and won five-nil, but he had 120 passes with 120 completed. He didn’t give the ball away once in 90 minutes?! That is unheard of in midfield, and he wasn’t just keeping it simple, he was spraying passes all over the place.
1. Steven Gerrard
Just pipping Scholes at number one is my all-time favourite player. Couldn’t get near him, he played me off the park on numerous occasions and I was getting benched at half-time in most of those games. That man is Steven Gerrard.
An incredible player who had everything. He was horrible, he was hard, he could run, he could pass, his vision was unbelievable, he would slap one in from about 45 yards like it was nothing, like a training session and if you watch Gerrard, even on YouTube, how he passed the ball, you could see why no other player was on that level. He used to zing the ball so hard it would take your foot off. Those cross field balls never used to leave the grass, we call them daisy-cutters. He was the ultimate daisy-cutter.
He was a Premier League icon and people didn’t realise how quick he was as well. You never really remember Gerrard for his pace. If he pushed it down the side, he would run you because he was rapid and he was tall, another thing people don’t really realise until you see him in person.
What a player.