Belfast Telegraph

Sharing a good book and some wise words with Wrighty and Merse

Good books and insightful interviews probably aren't the first two phrases you would reach for when discussing Ian Wright and Paul Merson but it just shows how wrong you can be.

Arsenal striking legend Wright joined Danny Murphy in the pundits' section of the MOTD2 library on Sunday evening where Mark Chapman referred to Chelsea manager Antonio Conte's review of his own book.

"You don't get many managers plugging their own books on Match of the Day, I'm sure it's available in all good book shops," said chief librarian Chapman, as off camera Murphy explained a book was one of those things that Wrighty had coloured in once.

"Chelsea are going to be champions," was his retort, straight from the Big Boys' Book of Stating the Bleedin' Obvious, before Chapman turned his attention to Arsenal's defeat by north London rivals, Tottenham.

"If you were 23 or 24 this summer, about to enter the prime of your career and both Arsenal and Spurs made a bid for you, and they'll pay you the same amount of money, who would you sign for?" pressed Chapman.

"That's probably one of the easiest questions ever, Spurs all day," reasoned Murphy, although Wright wasn't just as rational.

"That's a really tough question. That's an unfair question, it's leading, it's unfair, it's live television and my club's on the floor and Tottenham are flying, I'm not going to say the answer you want to hear," he hinted, as Chapman's guffaw would have woken up a library.

As for his former team-mate, Merson, he was one-on-one with Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick in Merse meets Carrick.

It turned out this was the latest in his occasional series where he meets players having interviewed the likes of Gazza and Tony Adams before, and not, as I originally thought, Merse showing us the highlights of east Antrim's premier coastal hotspot. Sorry Larne, but you're not helping yourself.

It was a cracking interview with one of football's most under-rated players and, unlike Wright, he answered all the questions without taking a hissy fit, although he did forget who the last player was in the best XI he ever played against, a certain Lionel Messi.

I would throw the book at him for that.

Belfast Telegraph

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