But in a startling remark, he disclosed he experienced racial abuse later in life as well as a professional footballer.
And in a hint that the racism had come from known figures in the sport, he insisted he would not ‘name any names’.
He told the High Performance Podcast: “Without being good at sport, life would have been very different for me because I was, I think I would have been bullied at school, I was kind of marginally that way anyway because I was this tiny geeky kid, with darkish skin and I had pretty much racist abuse although I’m not, I’m as English as they come. All the time, all the time.
‘Even in professional football I had that a couple of times, I wouldn’t ever name any names.
‘So I got that kind of nonsense, which was a bit weird.
‘Whether that was part of something that made me, I don’t know, but other people might not be able to handle that.”