Damien Duff described ex-teammate and Welsh legend Mark Hughes as one of the most horrific trainers he has ever played with.
Speaking about his career on Si Ferry’s Open Goal podcast, the former Irish winger highlights the early noughties when Blackburn gained promotion to the Premier League, with the likes of Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole and Mark Hughes joining the Lancashire club.
“When we got into the Premier League, it was just to hold our own which we did for a couple of years. Then cup competitions were a bonus. Blackburn were never then [challenging] and will never challenge again which is a sad thing.”
On the arrival of Mark Hughes, Duff described the then 39-year-old as one of the worst trainers ever.
“You wouldn’t really get to know Sparky, he just keeps himself to himself, maybe you’ll hear him say three things a week and they would always be three witty, dry lines that were funny. Otherwise, he wouldn’t speak.
“He was a horrific trainer. Out of the hundreds and thousands that I’ve trained with, he’d be in my top three for being the most shit in training, but then would come alive on a Saturday.”
However, the former Irish player credit Hughes for his natural footballing qualities as a veteran at Blackburn.
“He still at the age of 39 or 40, he still had the overhead kick. He was always unbelievable at overhead kicks and I remember he did it one day when he was 39 which blew me away, otherwise he wasn’t very mobile. Although, in that League Cup final, I think he played centre midfield.”
Naming the best player he played with at Blackburn Rovers, Duff highlighted Matt Jansen as one of the players that would top his list.
“I can’t say it was a pleasure playing with Yorke, Cole or Sparky because they were coming to the end of their careers and didn’t move.
“Matt Jansen was on the verge of making the England squad in 2002. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it. He went away to Rome on his honeymoon, fell off a moped and was in a coma for a few days but what an amazing guy.
“He had the best feet I possibly ever seen, but his career unfortunately tumbled after what happened in that summer.”
You can watch Damien Duff's full interview here.