An opera house packed with celebrity guests from all over the globe and a worldwide live TV audience are bound to spark butterflies in even the most experienced presenter's stomach. Former England striker Ian Wright and Kelly Dalglish, daughter of illustrious Scotland international Kenny, are keeping their nerves in check as they prepare to host the FIFA World Player Gala 2004 on Monday evening. The pair will present the ceremony which brings down the curtain on FIFA's Centennial celebrations, live from the Zurich Opera.
28-year-old Dalglish is a presenter for UK satellite broadcaster Sky Sports. Given her family background, a passion for football was perhaps inevitable, and evidence of just how crazy she is about the game arrived in November 1999 when she cheekily donned Scotland colours for her show ahead of the Euro 2000 play-off.
Fellow presenter Ian Wright needs little introduction. The 41-year-old rates as one of the most popular former players in England following a career which took him from Crystal Palace to Arsenal, where the striker holds the all-time scoring record with 185 goals. On hanging up his boots, Wright entered show business and now anchors his own TV programme. FIFA.com caught up with the pair ahead of the Gala.
FIFA.com: The Gala which rounds off FIFA's Centennial
year takes place on Monday. Do you consider it an honour to present
Dalglish: Definitely. I'm totally excited and I can hardly wait until we finally get going.
Wright: It's a massive spectacle, and obviously it's a major honour for me to be presenting as a former player.
The show will be broadcast around the world, and the
audience will be packed with celebrities. Are you nervous?
Dalglish: I'm extremely nervous. But we met up with the production team today and everything went very well. They're all extremely willing to help.
Ian, are you even more nervous then you used to be before
Wright: It's not nerves, it's a sort of anticipation. The adrenaline has started to flow. But they chose the two of us because they know we're up to the job. It's more like positive nervousness. And that's a good thing as it helps you get the best out of yourself.
Have you worked together before on TV?
Wright: No, we've not done anything together before. I've watched Kelly on TV a couple of times. The best thing about her is that she's really laid-back. I'm always bursting with energy, so it's good to be together with her, because I reckon she'll calm me down.
Dalglish: Yes, it should be a good blend.
Kelly, what are you going to wear for the evening? A
Dalglish: (laughs) No, I won't do that. There aren't any Scottish nominees. Maybe in a decade or so.
Ian, you're still Arsenal's all-time leading
scorer. On Monday you'll meet up with your potential successor
in Thierry Henry. What will that be like?
Wright: If Thierry wins on Monday, and I'm crossing my fingers for him, then I'll be able to say I lost the record to a player who's won everything. He's won the World Cup and the European Championship, and the Double with Arsenal. I don't have anything to lose. He's an outstanding player and he's earned everything he has achieved.
Is he the favourite for the title?
Wright: He's obviously my favourite because he's at the club where I played and I'm a good friend of his. But the three nominated players are all absolutely fantastic.
Dalglish: Obviously I'm trying to stay neutral, so my favourite will have to stay my little secret.