"Take it one game at a time … give it 100 per cent … at the end of the day, the three points are all that matter.”
If you’ve ever wondered why all sportsmen - and some women - seem to spout the same dull clichés, there’s actually a very good reason for it.
Players are media trained to such an absurd degree that this week it emerged players for the NFL’s New York Jets have been given cue cards with stock boring phrases to use if they’re asked a difficult question – to be used as follows:
Q: You’ve now lost 12 consecutive games – morale must be pretty low in the locker room.
A: That’s not my area of expertise, but I think your audience would be interested to know that I have a great new iPhone app out.
Q: Talk us through the play where you distracted the opposition by baring your backside prior to the winning touchdown.
A: Let me answer you by saying that the most important thing for this team is getting the points on the board.
Q: So, just why did your coach punch a cheerleader?
A: I wouldn’t even try to take on the job of coaching; what I can tell you is anyone can take exception to a stray pompom.
Of course, media training isn’t just a US phenomenon.
British fans are well used to stock clichés like ‘sick as a parrot’ and ‘over the moon’. These have been joined in recent years by a more corporate brand of platitude – like the managers who constantly, unfailingly refer to the ‘Barclays Premier League’ at the urging of press officers and sponsors.
But it’s not a new phenomenon, as you can see from this video of Gary Neville and Paul Scholes some 20 years ago.
No prizes for guessing who became the country’s most respected football pundit, and who barely uttered a word in public for their entire career.