Powerful Liverpool and England footballer who used his physical attributes to maximum effect
That Tommy Smith was one of football’s hard men was beyond dispute. But as a Liverpool player par excellence who made 638 appearances for his club, he was not just a forceful tackler and implacable marker: he was also a shrewd reader of the game and an accurate user of the ball.
Smith, who has died aged 74, was a powerful man with an air of indestructibility; his manager Bill Shankly once said of him that “he wasn’t born, he was quarried”. Weighing in at more than 13 stone despite his 5ft 10in frame, he used his physical attributes to maximum effect, and certainly took no prisoners. But as a centre-back for most of his career he was mainly deployed as a distributor of the ball rather than as a stopper – more in the manner of Bobby Moore than of Jack Charlton.