Wes Brown - Exclusive Interview with OLBG

Updated: 57 Football

Wes Brown - Exclusive Interview with OLBG

By Gordon Flood from Trim, Ireland - Man United V Man City, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4034057

In this article: Biography
Steve Madgwick Editor-In-Chief

Editor-In-Chief with 20 years experience covering the betting angles to breaking news stories. Daily slots player, Portsmouth fan and League Snooker Player

In this article, we delve into the life and career of Wesley Michael Brown, an English former-professional footballer known for his defensive strength and agility on the field. Brown began his journey in the world of football at Manchester United's academy, swiftly making his way into the team's first line-up and earning numerous accolades during his time there and in the Premier League. Despite his remarkable career at the club level, Brown's stint with the England National Team, though extensive, ended in 2010 after he decided to retire from international football.

Early Life and Career Start:

Born on October 13, 1979, Wesley Michael Brown first set foot into the world of football by joining Manchester United's esteemed academy at a young age of 12. A quick learner with bundles of natural talent, he turned professional by the age of 17 in 1996 and made his senior team debut two years later.

Club Career:

The 1998-99 season saw Brown become a critical part of Manchester United's first team, contributing to the club's treasured Treble win. Despite a year-long break due to injury, Brown firmly established himself as a vital part of the team from 2000 onwards. His notable wins during these eight years include four Premier League titles, an FA Cup, a League Cup, and a Champions League. After a 15-year stint with Manchester United, he joined Sunderland.

International Career:

Brown's international debut came in 1999 for England, and he got the opportunity to represent his country in the 2002 World Cup. Brown was part of the England team for the UEFA Euro 2008 qualifiers but unfortunately, the team didn't make it to the final tournament. In 2008, he scored his first international goal against the Czech Republic. On 8th August 2010, Brown announced his retirement from international football.

Impact and Legacy:

Former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson stated that Brown was "without question the best natural defender this club has had for years." Brown, through his career, left an indelible mark in the world of football with his defensive mastery and commitment to the game. Even though he has stepped back from professional football, the impact of his contributions continues to resonate in the world of football.

Interview with Wes Brown December 2023

We’ll start with Man United who always seems to be in the news lately, which comes with being one of the biggest teams in the world, why do you think we are seeing such varied performances on the pitch from the team?

There have been a lot of highs and lows in these games and they've done really well at times and got good results. But then there's been games where we've not done well and been very poor. There's been a lot of ups and downs. We haven’t had the best luck with injuries and I feel that's a big disappointment, we've had people out for a long time and that’s probably led to consistency problems. 

We've never really got a good rhythm going. We've not performed brilliantly every week, or nearly enough times and I think that's been the most disappointing thing. We'll have the odd half here and there where you can see what sort of ability we have as a team and individuals, but we don't seem to be able to show that week in, week out. 

Would you say there is a mentality problem at Manchester United as it’s clear that the players are talented and can perform to a higher level?

Football is all about confidence!⚽ Success follows when it's high, struggles when it's low. 📈⬇️ We may be inconsistent now, but we must keep going, learning & pushing forward for United! 👊💪 Individually brilliant, as a team, unyielding - we'll get there! 🏃‍♂️🏟️

Wes Brown on recent performances

I don't think anyone knows football. It's a game where confidence is key. When you're high on confidence, everything goes right for you, and when you're not, it can be a very tough sport to play. I think it's one that United players need to get over and just get on with playing through this period. I’ve always felt that confidence is a very big part of football. But we can’t seem to get everyone playing well at the same time. We've had individual signs of brilliance at times but we've not got it going as a team yet week in, week out. 

But we've just got to keep on going and eventually, it will come good. They've got to learn to keep on going, to get through games and win, and put games behind them that they've not done well in and just continue forward.

How would you and other senior members of the United dressing room deal with petulance from Bruno Fernandes, and is he the right captain for the club?

I think Bruno, ever since he signed, he's always been a fiery character. There are a few players like that, Garnacho's the same. Bruno’s the captain, he's one of the players that you can see week in, week out, working really hard to improve himself and the team. With the performances and the results lately, as captain, you're not going to be happy, you're going to be disappointed. Bruno shows his disappointment on the pitch. 

Can Bruno Fernanded ever reach the heights of Roy Keane as Captain?

People and pundits saying that he's getting a yellow to miss a game I think is very low. He's a professional, he's the captain of the team and he's trying to lead by example in these tough times. That's just paper talk, it was a silly yellow, but sometimes in a game you're not necessarily thinking about that. I’ve liked Bruno ever since he signed, he's broken some fantastic records, he gives it his all and never lacks passion for the club.

Is Bruno just showing that he cares?

Bruno's passion for the game is visible every time he steps on the pitch. His resolve as captain is unflinching, taking on every post-match interview amidst our current struggles. He's fighting hard to turn our performance around. Let's back him and turn things around!

on Bruno Fernandes

From day one, Bruno has always cared. He wants to do well and he shows that on the pitch wearing his heart on his sleeve. Being the captain, he's the guy who has to do every interview afterwards and you can see, he knows we're not playing well. He's disappointed, he doesn't want it to be like this, he will do everything he can to keep it from going on any longer and do all he can to keep the lads going and get them back to playing well. 

One player who has been a positive is Garnacho, what do you think of him as a prospect going forward?

I think since he's come on the scene he's done extremely well. He's a young player that is developing well. I think everyone can see that he's very talented and I think you're going to see more great things from Garnacho in the future. Last season he was coming on as a really good sub, but ut I think he's solidified his place now in the starting 11. 

The manager definitely trusts him which is the key, you can see that in the way he plays, in his determination, and he has plenty of confidence. I think he's going to be a great player as he develops further, United’s opponents will be really worried about him in the future if not already.

Was Garnacho’s overhead kick better than Rooney’s? I believe you were on the bench on that day at Old Trafford.

Ronney still holds the better bicycle kick over Garnacho according to Brown

It was very good. If you look at both of them, the only thing that would sway me towards Rooney’s is the occasion, that’s the only difference in my eyes. That technique is something you can try every day and never get right.  Both goals are brilliant, I don't want to take anything away from Garnacho’s goal. But to even try it, shows the confidence that he has in his own ability, he's willing to try these things and I think it's really good to see from a young player at a big club.

Kobbie Mainoo has also been a great addition to United this season, how good do you think he could be considering how he’s played so far with the unrest among United at the moment?

Kobbie Mainoo's brilliance shines through despite his recent injury. His abundant talent and favored status with the manager promise more regular game presence. He's fearless with the ball and his ability to smoothly navigate tough situations is impressive. Stay fit, Kobbie, we are eager for your more contributions to United. Your talent is knocking on the door of greatness.

on Kobbie Mainoo

Kobbie Mainoo is absolutely brilliant. He was really good in the youth team and he had a really good start in pre-season, then unfortunately he got injured. I think you can see with the ability that he has, plus the manager really likes him so I think regardless of who's in the team, he will start to feature more often in games. 

You can see his potential, he's not scared to get on the ball and always looks to progress the ball forward. Football seems to come very easy to him regardless of the players around him, he stays composed and patient to get out of situations. I just hope he can stay fit and show more of what he has to offer United.

He’s still learning as a young player but I think with the talent that he has, he still will be knocking on the door regardless of whether everyone is fit in his position. He's only played a few games and it's easy to see that he's potentially going to be a great player.

Will Kobbee Mainoo decide to play for England in the future? 

I've never spoken to Kobbee, but that's a decision for him and his family. But it would be great to see him playing for England, I think he's a great player. At the moment though, he's doing exactly what he needs to do. Having played for England myself, I'd love to see him in an England shirt.

Now in slightly less positive news, Rashford has been one of Man United’s key players over the past few years but he has been struggling to fire recently and his attitude has also come into question most recently by Rio Ferdinand, do you think he can bounce back or could he do with fresh start elsewhere?Ferdinand has found criticism of Rashford of lateMarcus has been brilliant for us over the years that he's played but he has struggled a little bit this season with confidence and performances, but Marcus is Manchester United. He won't be happy with what's happening at the moment on the pitch and he'll want to get everything back to normal as soon as possible. A lot of people are very quick to write him off, he's still young, he's still talented and he has a lot to offer this team. 

Last season, he was fantastic, as for this season, he's hit a bit of a rocky patch. He should just train hard, get back into the team and try to start performing again, scoring goals. He will absolutely come back from this, I think over the next few weeks, we will see a fresh and brand-new Marcus Rashford. 

How do you reflect on Man United Champions League campaign?

United’s Champions League campaign was extremely disappointing, we've just conceded too many goals. But we scored quite a lot, 15 in total, but we've let in far too many. The table doesn't lie in the Champions League, we played well at times and scored goals but dropped leads away from home. It's a different breed of teams in the Champions League and you have to be on it for 90 minutes every game, we have slacked off at times and we've been a few minutes away from picking up points. It wasn't the worst performance from United against Bayern Munich but ultimately, we just didn't do enough to win that game which was required to keep us in Europe.  

They have to pick themselves up from this and it could turn out to be a blessing in disguise. We have to focus on the Premier League and the FA Cup now and try our best to be competitive in these competitions. 

Champions League Betting Odds

UEFA Champions League 2023/24 11 Apr @ 05:01 - Win Tournament
Man City 2.63
Arsenal 7.00
Bayern Munich 8.00
Real Madrid 8.00
Barcelona 9.00
Atletico Madrid 10.00
PSG 13.00
Borussia Dortmund 36.00

Gary Neville said this week that ‘sacking Ten Hag would be absolute nonsense’ Do you agree with him and do you think Ten Hag is the right man for the job?

Erik Ten Hag came in and it was always going to be tough. The players have to get behind him and listen to everything he has to say. When the transfer window opens again, the club have to get behind him, and I think they will. I don't think it's ever easy being the manager of Man United. The expectations are so high with obviously what they've achieved in the past and everybody expects them to be challenging for the league and winning trophies. I do like the manager. I do like what he's trying to do and how he's trying to get the players sorted mentally and get them playing. Ten Hag seems like the sort of person who's going to stick to his guns and he’s going to try to get everybody on board. 

Editorial credit: kivnl / Shutterstock.com

United have one of the biggest games of their season coming up this weekend away at Liverpool, they really struggled at Anfield last season, what do United have to do this weekend to get a positive result? 

Play brilliantly, of course!

Liverpool have turned us over a few times now, for me as a player, this was the first game I'd look for in the fixtures to see when it was. A game like this can define a season. No one believes that we can win this game at Anfield, we're not playing brilliantly at the moment, so the pressure is on Liverpool. But we have to turn up, we have to show a lot of courage. We have to be brave because if you can play half-decent at Anfield, anything can happen. You can get results, you can get into positive areas of the pitch and cause them problems. But we have to put in a great team performance.

The crowd are going to be loud and we're going to have to handle that aspect of the game. United have to forget about the last game at Anfield, they need to really focus on this one football match and give it their all. It could be a great opportunity for the lads to turn their whole season around. 

Are you surprised by Maguire'’s revival? He’s been really important for United lately and won Player of the Month, was his underperformance over-highlighted and is Man United’s first-choice centre-back?

Image: shutterstockHarry is a top professional, but he's had loads of stick, he's probably got more than you normally do when you're going through a tough time in your career. He's been absolutely brilliant in the way he's carried on working. His mental strength is good, the game is much different now since the introduction of the social media. I wouldn't have read it, but players do now, and I imagine it gets to them at times. I think with Maguire I admire the way he's just got his head down and stuck to his guns. He wasn't starting at the beginning of the season, but he got an opportunity due to injuries and performed well enough that the manager's has got to keep him in now. 

That’s all you can ask for from a football player he has to try and mentally block out the noise and just play his game, show everyone his ability. He's been really good and deserved to be player of the month. He’s got his form back now and hopefully, for United, the injury he picked up against Bayern isn’t too bad. 

What do you think of Man United’s full-back options? Do you think they are of the quality that United need or do you think they should strengthen in this area?

Everyone's injured. Shaw came off yesterday, which was a big disappointment. I always say the manager has always got his starting 11in his head as long as everybody is fit. But when people get injured or ill, it's an opportunity for somebody else to step up and grab their chance. That's how I always would treat things with United’s full-backs. Liverpool are very good in wide areas, they cause lots of problems. Salah doesn't necessarily have to be in the game for the full 90 minutes, but he could easily score two in the last 10 minutes. He's got that quality. He has a great understanding of the game and is a great finisher. So our full-backs will be important players for us on Sunday they will have to be on it from the first minute.

Whether it's Wan-Bissaka or Dalot who plays we'll have to see, or maybe both, because there are even more injuries now to United’s defensive line. We just have to deal with them, play well and try and get one over on them in their own backyard. We all have to first stick together and play well as a team and then anything can happen. That's why we love football.

Where can you see them finishing in the league this season?

I said we’d finish top four last year and I got laughed at for a while. We have the quality in the team and I don't think we've played brilliantly at all yet this season. But we're not too far behind a lot of the teams in the top four. So if we can start playing better and putting together consistent performances and results, which I know we can do, we will make that top four. 

We did it last year when a lot of people doubted us and we can easily do it again, but it's going to be tough. This season there are teams now that have matured, you have staples like Arsenal and Man City that you would have expected to be up there, but Aston Villa and Newcastle are now challenging as well.

There are five or six teams now that are really pushing for that top four. So I think it's going to be hard for us to make the cut, but, I do feel that we've got a run in us where we can keep on winning and picking up points as we get better throughout the season, so I back United to make the top four. 

Premier League Betting Odds

England Premier League 2023/24 11 Apr @ 05:01 - Win Tournament
Man City 2.50
Arsenal 2.88
Liverpool 3.30
Tottenham 2501.00
Aston Villa 4501.00

Where do Man United need to strengthen in January?

If it was up to me, one in each position. 

When the transfer window opens again, the club have to get behind the manager, and I think they will.

The United injuries aren’t ideal but there are lots of teams with injuries,  you just have to handle it. There's not much you can do. At the beginning of the season, it’s not something you can predict so management doesn't think about it too much because everyone's fit and ready to go. 

Man United needs serious bolstering come January - with or without injuries. To back the manager, every position needs strength. The unsung heroes like Scott McTominay must step forward, prove their worth and commitment to the team's success.

On the January transfer window

You have to get players that probably don't play week in, week out up to speed and that's all you can do as a manager. Players want to play every game so when you get these opportunities, you have to try and do well to show the manager that you deserve to be in a starting 11. 

I think Scott McTominay is probably one who's done that with the injuries that have been to the midfield. 

He's come in and played brilliantly for us, as a player that might not have had that many opportunities if everyone was fit. So we need the players that haven't been playing to step up. They're all Manchester United players and like I said, it could be the turning point in their season or career that if they play really well, they can only make it hard for the manager to leave them out. I've been a substitute many times and you just have to perform when you get the chance.

Prediction for Sunday’s game against Liverpool

First of all, we need to step up to the plate, then get at Liverpool and cause them problems. We've got to be defensively solid and keep that in mind at all times. I think it'll be a closer game than pundits will suggest, and I'm going to go with a cheeky 1-0 United win, a hit-and-run. 


 Image: The JPS / wikipedia 

What do you make to Sunderland's start to the season (currently in the playoffs) - do you think Mowbray was unlucky to lose his job?

Mowbray was my manager once, he was my manager at Blackburn, and he was very good. He gets the players really up for games and gets them going. I think with Sunderland being a big club, their expectation is to be in the playoffs at the end of the season and in touch with automatic promotion. Mowbray has just been a little bit unlucky, but, that's football, it happens all the time. 

More often than not, if the owners or management feel like it's not happening or won’t happen by the end of the season, they go and try something else. To get into the Premier League is Sunderland’s goal and they’ll always want to be fighting to get back there. But I think he's a great manager for Sunderland and he's done a really good job while he's been there. 

Tony Mowbray managed Brown at Blackburn
Image: PA

Will Still is now the bookies' favourite to land the Sunderland job, would you be a fan of this appointment?

Sunderland have always swapped and changed managers, especially even when I was there, and I think they need to find the right balance. I think they need a manager now, that works for everyone, the players and the club, and a little bit of luck is always needed to get promoted.

They need a manager who understands how big of a club it is and where they want to be in the next two, or three years. They want to do their best to try and get back in the Premier League and it takes time and it's hard. I think he would be a good fit and I just hope he does a good job. 

Next Sunderland Manager Betting Odds: Julien Sable shortens into EVENS FAVOURITE for the Sunderland job following Tony Mowbray's dismissal on Monday night!

Next Sunderland Manager Betting Odds: Julien Sable shortens into EVENS FAVOURITE for the Sunderland job following Tony Mowbray's dismissal on Monday night!

Sunderland has drawn Newcastle in the FA Cup- You played in three Tyne-Wear derbies winning two of them, what does it mean to to the players? 

I can smile thinking about these games because I didn't lose that many when I was there and believe me, it's a crazy game, it's a great draw for the fans, and it's amazing for both clubs. It’s going to be a very difficult game with the team that Newcastle have now, but it'll bring a lot of excitement to the area and it is the FA Cup so you never know who could end up winning. But it’s definitely a game that the Sunderland fans are going to love and be excited for.

FA Cup Betting Odds

England FA Cup 2023/24 11 Apr @ 05:01 - Win Tournament
Man City 1.62
Man Utd 3.25
Chelsea 7.00
Coventry 29.00


Ronnie Macdonald from Chelmsford, UK/via Wikimedia Commons

During your time at Blackburn, you played with two keepers who are now Premier League regulars Jason Steele and David Raya, did you see the potential in them both even back then?

I told them both at the time how good they were, Jason Steele was number one and David Raya was number two and they were both very good. David came in and played a few games and did well. I always thought that they were both great keepers with bright futures. It was a shame that one had to be number one and the other number two because they were both so good. 

They've both moved on now and gone on and done better things becoming regulars in the Premier League. David is now at Arsenal and Jason is at Brighton, with keepers, there are always going to be ups and downs, but you could see potential there in them both.

What do you think about the Raya vs Ramsdale debate, they are both good keepers who seem to be struggling for form, who do you think is better?

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has made his own keeping issues bringing Raya in
Credit: MDI / Shutterstock.com
Arteta brought David in, but as you've seen, there have been difficult performances over the last few months that they've both had. I think it's still up for debate, if Ramsdale gets a really good opportunity again, he's also got a chance to stay back in.

But I'm going to stick with ex-teammate David Raya, I fancy him to become the permanent number one, the manager definitely believes in him. Arteta brought him in and I think will probably stick with him now. I think the goalkeeper position is always difficult because one mistake can completely change how people look at a keeper. I've known him since he was very young and he's got the potential to be an unbelievable goalkeeper. 

Manager Questions

Do you think opportunities are limited in football for BAME managers? Only 11 in the history of the Premier League. Would you ever consider coaching or management?

I wouldn't, no. I don't think it's for everyone. 

There have been eleven BAME managers, I mean it is what it is. If you're a coach you start out like anybody else, whether it's lower leagues, non-league, or even further down. I think first of all you have to do well and get results. I think there will be more and more BAME managers as time goes on. Everybody gets an opportunity, and it's all about how you do, how you get your team to play well, and get results at any level. But ultimately I don't see a problem with it. We've had some great BAME coaches along the way that I know really well. It's just one of them things. 

If you're a good coach, you work hard, you get opportunities, then you try to get and keep jobs and I'm sure the number will continue to increase. 

Your old teammate Wayne Rooney is now managing Birmingham City, it's been a tough start for him admittedly but do you think he has what it takes to turn their form around? 

Rooney just loves football and coming in when he did with the run Birmingham were on, it was always going to be hard. He will get it, and he will turn their form around, it's going to be a challenge but he's not the type of person who gives up. Rooney eats, sleeps, and drinks football and once they start picking up a few results, he'll turn it around and do well. 

It was always going to be hard for him to come in, especially when John Eustace was doing a good job and was unlucky to lose his job. I think Birmingham wanted Wayne’s winning experience and brought him in, he's just got to keep on going and the results will come.

After a tough start to the season, Michael Carrick has got Middlesbrough in a much better spot now and he had a great year there last year, what do you think of Carrick as a manager?

I like what Carrick is doing, I spoke to him a good few months ago, when they were struggling a little bit to pick up points. He was telling me that at that moment with injuries, they were playing a lot of young lads, but the young players would come good. They just needed time, and a little bit of experience, I think you can see that showing now. But he's a great manager and has stuck by his guns, and now it's starting to show with the results that Middlesbrough are getting I’m sure they’ll keep moving up the league. 

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