He was brilliant tattoo or no tattoo. Excellent on the ball, good in the air, hard, could tackle and could pop up with a goal.
Him and Hyppia are 2 of the finest over the last 20 years in my opinion. Only Carra VVD ahead of them
I remember him struggling against tall, physical forwards frequently because he wasn’t good in the air or particularly strong. The likes of Kevin Davies would be his worst nightmare and we were always vulnerable because of it.
He scored a few belters and brought the ball out from the back better than others so it clouded peoples judgment on him.
During his era, he wasn’t one of the best cbs in the league and he wouldn’t have got in the sides above us at that time either.
You’re right that he’s been one of our best centre halves in recent times but that doesn’t mean much. There’s a reason why it took 30 years to win the title.
As for carragher, he’s actually another example of our fans over hyping. He too wasn’t good enough. He formed a great partnership with sami (I think sami could have made Titus bramble look half decent to be honest) but whenever he was partnered with skrtel or agger he was exposed. He said himself on a Fowler podcast recently that he was a bottom 6 / top 6 championship player.
When you compare the players who were considered the best at that time, so John Terry mainly, he was levels and levels above both carragher and agger. Something else carragher has said himself several times too.
I understand the love they get from our fan base but neither were world class or brilliant players, just good ones who were good servants and as a result, our fans are guilty of thinking they were better players than what they actually were.