"But his all-round game has improved massively.
"He's had to work at his game. I don't think he's been naturally the most gifted player in the world.
"From what I hear he's a good one to practise and he's improved to be one of the best midfielders in the world. Credit to him for that.
"He's more of an all-round package now than he was at West Ham when he was probably carrying too much weight, not that he was fat. His goals record is unbelievable, just like Steven Gerrard and Paul Scholes.
"We see a lot of players who come on the scene and just fade away. But he seems as hungry as ever and plays lots of games.
"He looks after his body. He's a fit lad and when you've got a midfielder who can put the ball in the back of the net it's bloody priceless.
"When you look at him and Gerrard, by God, Fabio Capello's a lucky man to have two such outstanding players. The hallmark of a top player is not to do it over two years but over eight or nine."