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'I didn't realise my family was that big' - Le Tiss reacts to surprise triumph

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Matt Le Tissier

Image credit: Getty Images

ByPete Hall
17/05/2020 at 14:42 | Updated 17/05/2020 at 15:18

Matt Le Tissier has told Eurosport he is both delighted and shocked to have picked up the prestigous Eurosport Cup after his surprise victory.

  • Shock result: Matt Le Tissier voted greatest Premier League player

The former Southampton star got the better of Thierry Henry in the final voting to be crowned the greatest Premier League player ever in true underdog fashion, picking up 60% of the 21,042 votes. He knocked out Cristiano Ronaldo, Rio Ferdinand, Steven Gerrard and Alan Shearer en route to the final before toppling Henry.

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A cult hero on the south coast, Le Tiss is a member of the Premier League 100 club, having previously bagged 51 goals in the old first division for Saints.

Boasting a fearsome record of having scored 47 out of 48 Premier League penalties, some of Le Tissier's other strikes remain iconic to this day. Whether it be his mesmerising, weaving effort against Blackburn in 1994 or his self-teed-up wondergoal against Wimbledon, the quality of Le Tissier's goals means 'Le God' will always be fondly remembered.

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"I didn't realise my family was that big," Le Tissier told Eurosport.

If you were to ask me Thierry Henry would probably get my vote. But, if we are taking everyone into account, not just players who have won lots of trophies and played for the big clubs, just basing on natural ability alone, then I can maybe understand how I got up there in the voting.

"Footballers today don't even know what a bobble is. With the poor pitches we had to play on, you had to concentrate so hard on your first touch. It was a different challenge. Rule changes have considerably helped strikers, who are much more protected. It is much easier these days, and it seems people have remembered that!"

He did not perhaps have the England career his footballing abilities merited, but given Le Tissier was competing for a spot in various squads with some of the best English strikers for decades - Alan Shearer, Teddy Sheringham, Les Ferdinand, Michael Owen, Andy Cole, Ian Wright, Robbie Fowler - all whom played for higher profile clubs than Southampton, Le Tissier's meagre caps total of eight is not entirely surprising.

There were opportunities to make that step up, but instead, Le Tissier elected to stay on the south coast and fight to keep Southampton in the top flight - which he did, often single-handedly - for 15 years. Does he have regrets? Given his time again, would he have left for his chance at glory? Not this icon of the Premier League era - happiness prevailed.

"I had opportunities to play for so called bigger clubs throughout my career - Tottenham in 1990, Liverpool in 1992 and Chelsea in 1995 - but there are no regrets," Le Tissier adds. "If I had my time again I would have chosen to stay where I was. I was happy where I was at Southampton.

I was not really in football for the winning titles and the money. I always looked at football as an entertainment industry and that was what I was there to do. Hopefully I did that, and perhaps that is why I have picked up this award.

We squabbled over the Premier League's greatest players in the latest Game of Opinions podcast - admittedly featuring limited Le Tissier shouts. Check it out here.

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