HE HAS a penchant for Dr Pepper, he once ironed his own shirt and the last book he read was Romeo and Juliet. At school. Peter Sweeney is an icon. Like Henrik Larsson and Ronald de Boer he lists his own likes and hates and occasional football thoughts on his own Icons website.
Sweeney keeps good company but it’s the company of Rainer Bonhof’s Scotland squad that the 19-year old Millwall man is looking forward to after his selection for Wednesday’s friendly with Hungary at Livingston. In one word, Sweeney is "delighted" at this latest development in his fledgling career.
When he flies down the flank for Millwall the supporters sing along to the theme tune from The Sweeney, the iconic 1970s cop show about Scotland Yard’s Flying Squad.
As he talks about the Scotland under-21 squad, he sounds like a character from The Sweeney. He doesn’t quite tell me to shut it or call me guv’nor either but the accent is as thick as a plate of jellied eels. He could even be Terry Venables.
But he’s as Scottish as haggis. Peter Sweeney was born in Glasgow. The family moved to London when he was three and that was that. He has been under the wing of Millwall since he was 14 and this season finally made the breakthrough, becoming a first-team regular and firm fans’ favourite.
Sweeney doesn’t think. He finks. He finks Dennis Wise is 37, while he wonders and marvels about the longevity of his player-manager on the park. "For Dennis to be playing at his age really is something," states Sweeney. "And he is one of our best players too!"
Wise has been the major figure in Sweeney’s big arrival in the Nationwide First Division. It was in October that Wise told him he would be playing against Burnley. Sweeney didn’t let his boss down. "He was immense," said Wise, who has continued to select him.
Mark McGhee was also an admirer. "He is one of the youths I am most excited about," said McGhee, though he only gave Sweeney one start during his tenure as boss. "I don’t think Mark McGhee felt I was ready at the time but I don’t blame him really," says Sweeney. What really matters is that he is ready now. Ready for Millwall and ready for Scotland.
"Playing regularly for Millwall has definitely helped me get the recognition with Scotland," says Sweeney, who still has family in Castlemilk and thinks that some of them might just make it along to Almondvale for the tea-time kick-off on Wednesday. "My dad is chuffed," he says. "It was a dream of his that I’d play for Scotland."
Sweeney played for England first at schoolboy level. He featured in a couple of games in the white shirt but then the FA discovered that though he had received English schooling he was actually Scottish.
They wrote Sweeney a letter telling him that they could no longer call upon him. It was a "bombshell" for the teenager but the subsequent call from Scotland asking for his services alleviated the disappointment.
Sweeney is happy to develop in England and force his case for involvement with the Scotland set-up, even though he is mocked mercilessly by Ray Wilkins who finds it incredulous that Sweeney can put on the dark blue shirt with that accent.
Wilkins is the other individual, aside from Wise, who is shaping his career currently and the youngster is in awe of the former Rangers and England midfielder.
"Ray was a great player and it’s great working with him. We all have a lot of respect for him here," says Sweeney who having earned the respect of Millwall supporters is now intent on making an impression north of the border too.