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Bothroyd: "I Played With Gaddafi!"

Jay Bothroyd QPR interview gaddaffi football queens park rangers striker arsenal

Did you ever think you would play for England after being sold by Arsenal all those years ago, Jay?
I was always hopeful I’d play for England, even after I left Arsenal. I’ve had a few ups and downs since then, but I did well at Cardiff and I’m now back in the Premier League with QPR. Hopefully, if I can replicate my Cardiff form for QPR, I can get back into the set-up. I see no reason why I can’t be playing for England.

After false starts with Arsenal, Coventry and Blackburn, do you feel you have something to prove in the Premier League?
Yeah, definitely. There are a lot of players at QPR who feel they have something to prove. Shaun Wright-Phillips, for example, is a great player, but didn’t play at Man City towards the end of his time there, so he’s hungry to make up for lost time. There are a few of us here who are like that.

What’s it like being managed by Neil Warnock?
Me and the boys give him a lot of stick about his weight. We’ll see him in the gym with his sweatbands on as he works out on a swiss ball and the cross-trainer. It’s something to behold! He takes the p*ss out of us though. He loves cussing me about my barnet. He likes to feign interest in what I’m going to do with it and asks me all the time when I’m going to get it cut. He loves a good niggle and a bit of banter, but when it comes to business, he’s serious.

There’s loads of banter on Twitter between you and your teammates. Shaun Wright-Phillips takes a lot of stick, doesn’t he?
He takes abuse, but to be fair, he gives it back really well, too. He gets loads of height jokes, like when we left out a high chair for him to sit in while we had lunch! The boys all love Twitter and we’re always posting funny pictures of each other. It’s a laugh, but I think it helps us grow as a team as we get on so well.

Didn’t you get your Uggs cut up by Joey Barton?
It wasn’t Joey. He got the blame, but it was actually Jamie Mackie!

They deserved to be cut up – you shouldn’t be wearing Uggs, Jay…
Ha, I know that now! I wore them to Loftus Road one day because it was cold. I want to get Mackie back, but he always locks his stuff away. But I’m happy to bide my time and wait for him to forget!

What did the lads make of Joey Barton reading the gaffer’s autobiography on the bus?
That was actually a set-up. Keith Curle, the assistant, gave him the gaffer’s book and I was right there to get a picture as he opened it up. I told him that picture got him the captaincy!

Is Joey really the hardman he’s made out to be?
Well, I saw him painting his toes the other day…

Don’t lie!
I’m not. I have photographic evidence of him doing it! He said he was painting them black to help an infection. But I think maybe he’s going through a Goth stage.

Jay Bothroyd QPR interview gaddaffi football queens park rangers striker arsenalWho’d win in an argument between Bellamy and Barton?
Definitely Bellars! He’s always got plenty to say on everything, no matter what it is, or who to. If he and Barton got in an argument, sparks would fly! But I love Bellars, he’s a top man and helped me loads when I was at Cardiff with him.

Not many England strikers have played in Italy – what was your time in Perugia like?
That was a period where I was really down about my football. People were saying I’d got a bad attitude, so I wanted to get away from England so I could just concentrate on playing and reinvent myself. They’re mad about football over there. There isn’t much joking about, it was very serious.

Didn’t you play with Colonel Gaddafi’s son? Was he any good?
Our chairman at the time was a bit crazy and knew Gaddafi’s son, Al-Saadi, liked football so signed him up. Obviously his dad was a tyrant, but the son was a nice guy. I played up front with him a bit in training and got on with him. He even came to my wedding!

This chairman, Luciano Gaucci, was an interesting character wasn’t he?
He was nuts! He still owes me money. If you bump into him, let him know I want my money! He’d just say stuff to the media to wind them up – a bit like when he said he was going to sign a female striker and pair her up with me.

Finally, QPR have started well, but are still tipped for relegation…
We’ve done well so far and we’ve already played a lot of the top teams. There’s a good squad here at QPR, and we’ve surprised a few people. We have a tough schedule around Christmas, including Man United and Liverpool, but we’re confident that we’ve got enough about us to avoid the drop.

Jay Bothroyd was playing Need For Speed: The Run, out now on Xbox 360, PS3,  PC, Wii and 3DS. Go to www.hmv.com to order your copy. #NFSTheRun

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