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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 March 2007, 11:26 GMT
Footballers' favourite books
Wigan defender Arjan de Zeeuw reads to a local school boy
Wigan defender Arjan de Zeeuw picked 'The Gruffalo' as his favourite book

The annual list of footballers' favourites books has thrown up the usual mixed bag of literary works.

This year's selections can pretty much be split into three categories: kids books, sporting autobiographies and high-brow novels.

Arsenal's eccentric goalkeeper Jens Lehmann selects modern classic 'The Kite Runner' by Khaled Hosseini, while Manchester United striker Alan Smith picks motorbike racer Valentino Rossi's memoirs 'What if I Had Never Tried it?'.

Meanwhile, Bolton's veteran midfielder Gary Speed opts for 'Winter In Madrid' by CJ Sansom, a book which drew praise from the Independent newspaper for the "the non-pareil evocations of time and place which anchor the characters with satisfying precision".

But Chelsea's Wayne Bridge shunned the serious stuff and went for 'Horrid Henry and the Football Fiend'.

BBC Collective

Francesca Simon's book apparently has nothing to do with Arsenal's Thierry but instead tells the tale of the eponymous hero's attempts to win the class football match by fair means or foul.

The list was compiled by Premier League Reading Stars - a scheme set up jointly by the Natural Literacy Trust, Arts Council England, Football Foundation and the Premier League to encourage inspire families to read more.

Jens Lehmann (Arsenal) The Kite Runner
Khaled Hosseini

Steven Davis (Aston Villa) Back from the Brink
Paul McGrath

Brad Friedel (Blackburn) Fantastic Football Poems
John Foster

Gary Speed (Bolton) Winter in Madrid
CJ Sansom

Ben Thatcher (Charlton) The Tiger Who Came to Tea
Judith Kerr

Wayne Bridge (Chelsea) Horrid Henry and the Football Fiend
Francesca Simon

Tim Cahill (Everton) My Autobiography
Shane Warne

Liam Rosenior (Fulham) Fungus The Bogeyman
Raymond Briggs

Jermaine Pennant (Liverpool) Private Peaceful
Michael Morpurgo

Nedum Onuoha (Man City) It's Not About The Bike
Lance Armstrong

Alan Smith (Man Utd) What if I Had Never Tried it?
Valentino Rossi

Chris Riggott (Middlesbrough) Action Replay
SW Parry

Steven Taylor (Newcastle) Tamar
Mal Peet

David James (Portsmouth) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
Mark Haddon

Marcus Hahnemann (Reading) Without Remorse
Tom Clancy

Craig Short (Sheffield United) Angels and Demons
Dan Brown

Ledley King (Tottenham) Krindlekrax
Phillip Ridley

Malky Mackay (Watford) The Tipping Point
Malcolm Gladwell

Robert Green (West Ham) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Roald Dahl

Arjan De Zeeuw (Wigan) The Gruffalo
Julia Donaldson

Football stars to promote reading
02 Apr 05 |  Education


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