Exclusive: When Xabi Alonso forced academy players at Liverpool to have tequila

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Xabi Alonso is known as a phenomenal footballer, now a brilliant coach and also seemingly he’s a man who doesn’t mind sharing  a drink or two with his teammates.

Speaking exclusively with Empire of the Kop’s Substack, John Welsh stated: ‘We were on a Christmas do and at things like that the young lads probably stuck together a bit more, so we were probably a little bit away.

‘Xabi come over and was like, ‘What are you doing?’ And we were like, ‘Oh, no, just sitting here, having a drink.’ He was like, ‘Come with us. Come with us.’ And we were like, ‘We will now.’ So he went, ‘I’m just going the bar, do you want anything?’ We were like, ‘No, no, no.’

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‘There must have been about been about five or six of us and the next minute he come over with six tequilas. We were like, ‘Oh, no, we don’t want a tequila.’ And he was like, ‘You are having a tequila!’ So , we all had the shot with him.’

It’s great to hear that, even when still a relatively young man himself, the Spaniard was happy to make time for younger players within the squad and make them feel part of the fun.

It’s a gesture so small that it’s likely the midfielder may not even remember it but made such a big impact on the academy graduates that they still recall how it made them feel.

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To see the 42-year-old now thriving in Germany, it’s clear that he can win his players over with his personality as much as his coaching skills – something that is very often overlooked.

It’s clearly a talent that comes naturally to the ex-Red and now that he’s had more time to work on it, you can imagine it’s only improved further now.

When we love players, you only really know what they’re like on the pitch so hearing a story like this is a great bonus.

You can read the full interview with John Welsh via Empire of the Kop’s Substack.

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