My top 10 active British sportsmen (after my number one Andy Murray)
Some way behind Murray are the following. In order of their greatness....
Ronnie O’Sullivan: Yes I know he’s playing a parlour game, but such is his magnetic personality, his effortless brilliance and his dominance over the rest (when he can be bothered) he is a true great of both snooker and sport.
Mo Farah: I hesitated including athletes when their sport is overwhelmed by suspicion and Farah’s reaction to his coach falling under investigation last year did him no favours at all. But I get a buzz watching Farah win from the front or from behind and I can’t ignore that.
Rory McIlroy: Golf is the most competitive of sports at the highest level so to rack up the numbers the Northern Irishman has done at an early age is mightily impressive. He wins with panache, arrogance and class. He’s a golfing Muhammed Ali.
Gareth Bale: Unfortunately the best footballer on the pitch when England play Wales in Euro 2016 this summer will be a Welshman. Wayne Rooney isn’t world class, but Bale is thanks to exceptional pace and the ability to score wonderful goals in the biggest of games.
Sam Burgess: A rubbish rugby union player who should have been nowhere near England’s World Cup squad, but a colossus in rugby league. He’d be one of the first picks in the Australian team and that’s high praise indeed.
Joe Root: A top cricketer in all formats of the sport and an infectious, bubbly character to boot. Great to watch and will be a star for the next decade at least.
Tai Woffinden: Speedway isn’t big in Great Britain, not compared to Poland and Denmark, so to win two of the last three world championships is a fine effort even if the BBC Sports Personality of the Year organisers believe otherwise so ignore him in favour of lady footballers.
Ben Ainslie: Four Olympic gold medals and a part in an Admirals Cup winning team. A man at the top of the world for an awful long time.
Justin Rose: From missing the first 21 cuts of his professional golfing career to winning the US Open. Consistently top finisher in a competitive sport.
David Weir: Phenomenal medal-winning Paralympian who is an inspiration to all sportsmen, disbled and able-bodied.
I rejected all nominations from the world of Formula One as the car is king. Swap cars and Jenson Button would beat Lewis Hamilton.
I also rejected all nominations for cyclists as it’s the most tainted sport in history and no-one can possibly be sure who is racing clean and who isn’t.
I know I’ve included Mo Farah from another dubious sport, but he excites me far more than boring Bradley Wiggins could.