Ray Parlour recently sat down with the folks over at Titan Bet to discuss all things football. The former Arsenal midfielder spoke on the FA Cup final, the dark horses for the World Cup and his regret at being overlooked for France 1998.
Arsenal and Hull lock horns on May 17 in the Fa Cup final, two clubs that Parlour played for in his 15-year football career. While the 41-year-old is proud to see both sides competing for silverware, he's hoping the Gunners can reward their loyal supporters by ending an 8-year trophy drought.
"Well naturally I’m delighted that both Arsenal and Hull are through to a final at Wembley. Having played for both clubs, it gives me great pride to see them both competing right until the end of the season for silverware.
"Not surprisingly Arsenal start as the favourites and they will be hungry to finish the season with a trophy in the cabinet and fingers crossed the ever-important fourth spot in the league. We’ve waited a while for a trophy so it would be a tribute not only to the players but to the loyal Gunners fans. I hope it’s an action packed game, full of goals!"
Brazil, Argentina and Germany are the bookies favourites to lift the FIFA World Cup Trophy on July 13 in Brasilia – for obvious reasons. But who are the dark horses this summer? Parlour thinks Belgium at 14/1 represents good value, citing the star quality they have in all areas as reason enough to back them.
"It’s hard to look past those three and in particular Brazil on their home patch. They have some truly gifted players, with the likes of Neymar, Hulk, Oscar, David Luiz and of course their skipper Thiago Silva they all present a real threat. But I do like the look of Belgium. They have star quality across the pitch. Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has had a great season with Atletico Madrid and is proving to be the real deal. Vincent Kompany has had the experience of leading successful sides and Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku have the potential to cause havoc. At 14/1, Belgium may well upset the odds."
Despite winning league and cup doubles with Arsenal, Parlour was never picked to represent his country in a World Cup. Something the "Romford Pele" regrets to this day.
"Of course. My real chance was France 1998. I’d had a great season, won the double and won player of the season at Arsenal so that was my opportunity to go. But I missed out, Glenn Hoddle didn’t select me. Naturally I was gutted to miss out because just to have been involved in the squad would have been special. I am very proud however to have represented my country 10 times!"
Ray Parlour was talking to Titan Bet ahead of the World Cup. Titanbet.com is a full service sports betting site offering bettors real-time, live betting opportunities on sporting events from around the world.