Lee Bowyer has claimed that Mark Viduka’s ability to do what he wanted on a football pitch due to his physicality made him unplayable at times when the pair were at Leeds United.
Viduka and Bowyer were spells at Elland Road overlapped for three years between 2000 and 2003, during which time the club often battled the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool for a place in the Champions League.
Having joined the club in the summer of 2000, Viduka would play a key part in that, scoring a total of 72 goals in 166 appearances in all competitions for Leeds before leaving to join Middlesbrough in 2004, and it seems Bowyer was clearly impressed by the Australian’s impact at Elland Road.
Speaking to Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football Retro Show about playing alongside Viduka for Leeds, Bowyer revealed: “The first thing I’d like to say is how much of a gentleman he was.
“He was one of the nicest fellas that you’d ever meet in the game – he was a gentle giant, but technically his feet for a big fella were unreal.
“On his day he was unplayable – he just did what he wanted, when he wanted to and no one could stop him from doing it.”
Explaining the way that that impacted Bowyer’s own ability to play on the pitch, the now-Charlton manager continued: “For myself as a midfielder who liked to run beyond there was no one better at holding the ball up and recognising that you were making the runs so putting It in your path.
“He had everything – his goals and his finishes for a big fella were exceptional.”
In total, Viduka made 507 appearances and scored 258 goals across his club career, while also captaining Australia at the 2006 World Cup.
What a player Viduka was.
You only need to look at his goalscoring record to see just how he was in front of goal, and comments such as these will only further enhance his reputation.
The fact that are coming from someone such as Bowyer, who isn’t one to mince his words, shows just how well respected Viduka was within that Elland Road dressing room, a further testament to his character both on and off the pitch.
With that in mind, you have to wonder just what else Viduka could have achieved in his career, had his path taking him down a different road to the one it ultimately did.
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