The secret footballer : Dans la peau d'un joueur de première league de Hugo et Compagnie
Standing in the tunnel before a match against Liverpool at Anfield, I had a brush with something that Marcel Proust describes as "a remembrance of things past". As our coach gave each player a ball, I lifted mine up to my nose and sniffed it. Don't ask me why - I had never done it before as a professional, or since. The ball was brand new and looked so inviting. The smell took me right back to my Council estate and the moment my mum and dad bought me one of m first full-size footballs, an Adidas Tango. Everybody knows that smell of a new football and at that moment it suddenly filled me with all the reasons I had ever wanted to play the game - it smelled of happy times and familiarity. As the noise outside grew louder and the familiar opening notes of You'll Never Walk Alone made their way through the tunnel, I told myself to keep that moment at the front of my mind for as long as possible.