Off the field interview: Ben Westwood
In the first of a new series, Ben Westwood, of Warrington Wolves and England, tells Joe Whitley about his life off the field, including his love of the perfect fry-up and his C-reg Maestro.
JW: What is the best meal you’ve ever had?
BW: Excuse me I’m chewing a refresher… It has to be a fry-up. I never ever, ever don’t enjoy a fry-up. As long as it has no mushrooms it’s fine, because I’m scared of mushrooms. And I’m the only one who can make it. The timing and everything is perfect, everything is red hot for when I sit down. I can do four at a time, so that’s pretty good, though I only eat one.
JW: What song do you listen to more than any other?
BW: Anything with a guitar in. I like the country-style stuff that’s quite popular at the moment. Did you watch X Factor last night? Gary Barlow did his new song and that’s the sort of thing I like. What’s that band called now? They sing Lion Man. Mumford and Sons, that’s it. I like that kind of music.
JW: Do you have any superstitions?
BW: Just a fry-up. To be honest, we have to do all this healthy eating s**t. When we played at Wembley in the [Challenge Cup] final I had to room on my own and got my breakfast delivered so no-one else knew.
JW: Which superpower would you most like to have?
BW: I’d like to be invisible. You could do whatever you wanted then couldn’t you? You could go absolutely anywhere and no-one would know.
JW: What is your favourite animal?
BW: Dogs probably. They do as they’re told. Saying that though I have a little Terrier at home and that just does what it bleeding wants. It comes in the front room and cocks its leg up. I got warned about them and the person who warned me was right. I’ve got him out of it actually.
JW: What is your favourite colour?
BW: Red. Because my mother in law once said to me… I put a red polo shirt on. It was an England shirt actually, it was about eight years ago. She said “ooh God red suits you, Ben”, so that’s been my favourite colour ever since.
JW: It’s my round, what are you drinking?
BW: Cider. I like to have a pint of cider, it’s very refreshing and I don’t wake up with a headache. I do like Lager, especially with a bit of lemonade in the top, but I always wake up with a hangover. And then it just moves on to, I don’t know, something easy – your vodka lemonades, vodka Red Bulls, and stuff like that. If it’s going to be a big night I start with cider, but if it’s just a few pints in the pub then it’s lager.
JW: Summer or winter?
BW: [Quickly and with a hint of derision] Summer!
JW: TV or a film?
BW: TV. Emmerdale, Coronation Street – I have them series linked [every episode automatically recorded]. I haven’t missed an episode in the last three years.
JW: Any bad habits?
BW: Do you know what, I haven’t. I sound like Mr Perfect, I probably am.
JW: Tidy or messy?
BW: I like to think I’m tidy, but after I clean the kitchen when I’ve finished cooking and wipe round and put everything in the dishwasher, you know, it looks alright. Then a couple of days later the missus will do it and I think I can’t really be that good because it’s immaculate when she does it and it only takes her two minutes. I can’t really be that good but I like to think I’m tidy.
JW: What was your first car like?
BW: It was a Maestro, cream, C-reg. It had a leak in the tank. I used to put a fiver in it – remember this is back in 1998/9 – I used to get 16 miles out of it. It only cost me 100 quid.
JW: Do you have any hobbies?
BW: Golf at the minute. But tomorrow it might be – I said to the missus the other day when I’ve finished playing at the end of the year I might start cycling, so I went out and bought a bike that day. Whether or not I’ll use it I don’t know. I might have changed my mind by then. I’ll try and do anything. I do enjoy a game of golf though.
JW: Are you any good?
BW: Well, when I tell you I play off three, I’ll let you be the judge of that.
JW: Do you really though?
BW: No. I’m a steady away. I just like the walk and the scenery. We try to play quite a few different courses, quite a few in Cheshire. That’s it again, I hadn’t played in four years then two months before the end of the season I bought some new clubs. I haven’t been for six weeks.
JW: Who is your favourite fictional character?
BW: Winnie the Pooh. I don’t know why, I just like him. I think he’s dead cute.
JW: Greatest moment of your life
BW: Obviously seeing your kids being born. My second is… I don’t know. I don’t really want to say rugby stuff because that’s boring. When I met my partner. Safe option.
JW: Best friend in the game
BW: I’ve got quite a few and I don’t stick to one best friend because I think everyone wants to be my mate. I’m very popular. I’d have to say Lee Briers and Paul Wood. Them two are my closest friends probably.
JW: Which pro has the worst dress sense?
BW: I’ve got to say Adrian Morley and I don’t like saying it because I like him. Well, I don’t think he even knows what he wears, he just closes his eyes and puts something on.
JW: What do you want to do when you retire?
BW: I would like to be a professional wine taster, doing it for a living. That would be a cool job.
JW: What do you hate more than anything?
BW: Mushrooms. I can’t stand them, can’t even look at them. I am getting better now I’m getting older, if I go to a buffet I can pick some beans out which are next to the mushrooms but I can’t do with them on my plate. I don’t think I’ve ever tried one. It’s just fungus growing out of the ground, why would you want to eat that?
JW: Funniest fellow pro?
BW: Can I say myself? Myself then. In second is probably Paul Wood, funny man.
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