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Wednesday, 15 January, 2003, 13:29 GMT
The James Beattie column
James Beattie


I think I had better clear up the mystery over the T-shirts.

I've been inundated with questions about them over the past couple of weeks, so here's the bottom line.

I haven't got one planned for this Saturday - but that's not because I'm not confident of scoring against Liverpoool

When I scored against Spurs the message on the T-shirt: "Macca and Feathers - at home!" was a dig at a couple of mates of mine, Andrew McAvoy and James Featherstone.

We were all apprentices at Blackburn and they were supposed to be coming to watch the game at St Mary's but flunked out at the last moment and decided to watch it on the television at home, in front of the fire.

I didn't think I could let them get away with that, and thought that scoring might give me the chance to have a dig at them.

The 'Obvious' message on the T-shirt when I scored against Middlesbrough was another little in-joke with Macca and Feathers, who were in the crowd last Saturday.

Southampton striker James Beattie celebrates against Middlesbrough
Does my tum look big in this? Obviously not

"Obvious" is a little catch-phrase we're always using to take the mickey out of each other, and it seemed a good chance to have another pop at them.

I don't tend to put too much planning into these things, they're spontaneous and not rocket science!

I did the 'Obvious' message while I was getting changed before the game, although I didn't nick the magic marker the gaffer uses on the tactics board.

I haven't got one planned for this Saturday - but that's not because I'm not confident of scoring against Liverpoool!

If Mr Eriksson is watching it won't make any difference to me

Apparently the England manager is coming to see our game against Liverpool, but it won't make any difference to me.

Of course I'm aware of all the talk and speculation surrounding the next England squad - I would have to be deaf and blind not to.

But I have said all along that I will let other people do the talking.

Of course I would love to play for England, but I won't get carried away by all the hype.

All I can do is to continue to score goals and hope that does the trick.

If Mr Eriksson is watching it won't make any difference to me.

James Beattie and Man Utd's Diego Forlan
No T-shirt tips to be gained from Diego Forlan

I won't let it enter my head and will treat it as a normal game and do exactly as I always do in terms of preparation.

I have got where I am this season by keeping to the same formula, and there's no reason to change it now.

There will be plenty of England players on show on Saturday - Michael Owen, Emile Heskey, Danny Murphy, Steven Gerrard, Wayne Bridge - and if Mr Eriksson does come, I wouldn't flatter myself to think he's just come to look at me.

It will be a tough enough game against Liverpool without any other mental baggage.

We're in the top five on merit and my main priority on Saturday is to try and get Southampton three points from a team who are breathing down our necks.

Southampton striker James Beattie writes for BBC Sport Online


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15 Jan 03 | Southampton
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