Writer: Arab Jacques
Date:Thursday February 22 2007
Celtic managed to hold AC Milan to a goal less draw in the knock-out stages of the European Cup at Parkhead on Tuesday night, but Dundee United manager Craig Levein is hopeful that his defenders will also benefit from the result.
Celtic travel to the San Siro next month for the 2nd leg of the European competition, with only 16 teams remaining, including the likes of Barcelona, Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United.
Levein believes that just by watching quality players like Paolo Maldini and Kaka, the Dundee United team can learn from their talents and experience.
It is defenders like Garry Kenneth, Keith Watson and Lee Wilkie who could benefit most according to Levein, as the former Leicester City and Hearts manager recalled one of the last times that influential 38-year-old Maldini played in Scotland.
"My abiding memory of Maldini is when Italy came over to play Scotland at Ibrox in the 1990s," admitted Levein.
"The way he strolled through that 90 minutes was sheer class. Back then, I regarded it as an education to sit in the stand - it was injured - and see exactly how he went about the business of snuffing out the Scotland strikers."
"He rarely gave Ally McCoist a kick of the ball and the Italy star reminded me a bit of myself and the way I used to give that particular striker short shrift. Maldini's development over the years is down to the fact that he came from an excellent school, having learned at the feet of a certain Franco Baresi."
"Now I want my players to look very closely at the way Maldini plays and see where they can learn from him in because that is a large part of football these days. Maldini has everything - he's got pace, physical strength, positional sense and a lot of aggression."
"What more can you ask for? The fact that he still playing at the age of 38 is testament to his dedication to the sport. He's looked after himself so well that he should be a real inspiration to any youngster striving to make the most of his career."
"I'll be asking all my defenders to watch Paolo Maldini. Guys like Keith Watson, Garry Kenneth and Lee Wilkie should look no further than Maldini whom I regard as by far the most complete defender of his generation."
Date:Thursday February 22 2007
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