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Last Updated: Friday, 10 November 2006, 15:19 GMT
Dalglish's day in the Texan sun
By John May

Houston Dynamos striker Paul Dalglish
Paul Dalglish has found his place in the Texan sun
The Texan sun casts a mighty long shadow, but not as long as the one Paul Dalglish has lived under.

A Sunday shoot-out will give him the chance to stake out his own place in the sun as he carves out a new chapter for himself in the Lone Star state.

Dalglish Jr, son of Celtic, Liverpool and Scotland hero Kenny will line up for Houston Dynamos in American soccer's domestic showpiece, the Major League Soccer Final against New England Revolution.

And if he does nothing else in his life, 29-year-old Paul will be able to claim responsibility for dragging his father into the cyber-age.

Paul told BBC Sport: "He's had to master the internet to keep in touch. My dad has been watching the games streamed live on-line.

"Both him and my mum have webcams and that's the way I speak to them at home. In fact, I probably speak to him more now than I did when I was at home.

"But I'm trying to get him and my mum out here, it will be the first time they've seen me play for a while," says Paul.

I had always wanted to come to the States, not just for the football but for the lifestyle

Houston Dynamos Paul Dalglish

Sunday's final pits Paul against a New England Revolution side managed by a former Liverpool colleague of his father's, Steve Nicol.

"I actually played against Steve Nicol when I was first starting my career at Liverpool and he was at Sheffield Wednesday. He's done a great job out here, and has taken New England to two finals in his time in charge."

There is a refreshing frankness in Paul Dalglish's acceptance that he was destined to be a pretender and never a successor to King Kenny.

Spells at Kenny's stamping grounds of Celtic and Liverpool proved more of a kick-back than a leg-up, as did his father signing him for Newcastle.

A nomadic career saw him also have spells at Norwich, Wigan, Blackpool, Linfield and Modena.

After a time-out from the game, he was given the chance to revive his career in Scotland at Livingston at the start of the 2005-06 season and before the January transfer window closed, he signed for Hibernian.

"I was happy there, I scored in Europe for them and I was starting to establish myself when the opportunity to come to America came up", says Dalglish who joined Dynamos in September, just before the MLS cut-off.

Paul Dalglish holds off a Colorado Rapids defender
Two goals against Colorado Rapids made Dalglish an instant hit

"I had always wanted to come to the States, not just for the football but for the lifestyle.

"I have only been here a couple of months but I've settled into the style of playing quickly and I'm enjoying it."

Dalglish immediately endeared himself to Houston fans with a brace against Colorado Rapids to clinch the Western Conference title and a place in the final.

They were fox-in-the-box goals, reminiscent of his father, and the different demands of the MLS have propelled Dalglish back to his favoured position.

"I struggled with the physical side playing up front at home," admits Dalglish.

"I ended up playing wide in midfield but here my role is about getting on the shoulder of the last defender and get in behind to score goals.

"It's hard to compare the standard with that at home. It's a much more European style of play, partly because of the heat.

"It's more possession football, there are no long balls from front to back and the pace is slower until play gets into the final third. That's when it speeds up to score goals, which suits me."

I have a lot to prove to myself that I can still do it

Paul Dalglish

Domestic soccer in the USA is still the subject of snide comment, harking back to the days when the old NASL was seen as a retirement home for the likes of Pele, Franz Beckenbauer and Johan Cruyff.

The MLS's attempts to justify itself are undermined by an exodus of the best US talent replaced, so the nay-sayers have it, by European bit-part players.

"To be honest, at the moment Europe is still the best place for them to play," admits Dalglish.

"But with the resources people are prepared to put in if it really takes off in 10-15 years' time all the American players will want to stay and play in their domestic league.

"The American attitude to sport is positive, they love success and it's not like back home where people build you up to knock you down.

"And the football out here is deadly serious. That's why I wanted to come here before I was 30, I didn't want people to accuse me of coming out here to take the money.

"I have a lot to prove to myself that I can still do it. Hopefully by the way I've been playing I still have a lot going and I've no doubt that Sunday is the biggest game of my career."



SEE ALSO
Nicol happy with New England life
22 Oct 06 |  Football
Dalglish heads for Dynamo in USA
16 Aug 06 |  Hibernian


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