Two-footed footballers

It’s a pet peeve of mine. Why on earth can’t professional football players kick the ball with both feet?

They can, you say? No they can’t. Just watch closely. Every footballer greatly favours one foot. They might occasionally use the weaker foot when all other options have gone, and the result is nearly always disappointing.

Some players from the past were truly two-footed: Bobby Charlton, Geoff Hurst, Jimmy Greaves, and another shining example was Glenn Hoddle, and George Best. The benefits they gained from being two-footed were immense. When asked whether he was left- or right-footed Bobby Charlton replied that he had no idea. Jimmy Greaves took penalties with either foot. None of these players spurned a chance to shoot or pass because they were not confident enough on their weaker foot. They used to dribble with both feet too.

Who is there now? If Lionel Messi had a right foot as magical as his left he would be far and away the greatest player ever. Cristiano Ronaldo has a decent left-foot strike when forced to use it, but even he takes almost every touch with his right foot. Commentators seem to forgive players for bad shots, “He’s screwed it wide, well it was his weaker foot.”

Being one-footed is so much easier to defend. And Chelsea have recently been taking things even further. There were a few games where their entire starting lineup consisted of right-footers. Nearly every touch was made with the right foot, no wonder the opposition could bottle them up.

Is it so difficult to kick well with both feet? No. At a young age my father advised me to try to kick with my left foot (I was born right-footed). So I did. I practised for hours just kicking a ball against a wall with my left foot. It took a year or two but come the age of 11 I was kicking well with both feet. I still slightly favoured the right foot, but by the time I was 14 I got the body shape worked out and I was truly two-footed. I wasn’t much of a player, but I was much more than I would otherwise have been.

It just took practise. Don’t professionals spend hours practising? Why don’t they double their options and improve the weaker foot? It really bugs me.

Mark my words, the next footballing superstar will be two-footed, and we will see how pathetic some of our current crop of stars really are.

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