For me, Jamie Carragher embodies all that's good about the game. While he's not the most talented or athletic of players, he's gotten to the pinnacle of the game through his intelligence, passion for the game, never say die attitude and sheer bloody-minded determination.
Not getting a game in central midfield? Train harder, watch more tape, become a center-back.
Not getting a game at center-back? Train harder, watch more tape, become a right back.
Not getting a game at right back? Train harder, watch more tape, become a left back.
Not getting a game at left back? Train harder, watch more tape, become a center-back again.
Rinse and repeat. He's the sort of player we all think we can become, given enough training. He's the everyman done good and that's what we like to see in our heroes. Ourselves.
Different football players have a different motivation to win. To some it's a job, to some it's an escape from poverty, for some it's because they're so scared of losing they have no choice but to win and for some, it's because they've been given such amazing athletic tools that they've just been winners all their lives.
But Carragher is a pure-bred winner. He wins because it's in his DNA. That's why we love him. It's why I wear #23 in all my footy teams here in Canada.
There's a chant, sung to the tune of "Yellow Submarine" that goes " We all dream of a team of Carraghers, a team of Carraghers, a team of Carraghers" etc.
Well, I found a picture that takes this one better:
(click to enlarge etc)