It’s hard being right sometimes, but this was no Bolt from the blue…

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But what do you need to be a star in soccer? (And for once, let me not make unpleasant remarks.) You need speed, you need guile, you need to be able to read the game, you need – and this is the most important thing of all – to be able to control the flying orb with one flick of your foot, or one toss of your head, and send it exactly where you want it go. You need to be able to flick it left, flick it right, then left two more times, to get it past the defender, and bobble it about for a bit before flicking it on to your right foot at the exact moment your crashing boot comes swinging through for a – everyone, on my call – “GOOOOOOOOAL!”

How do the best soccer players get those skills, and be able to bend it like Beckham to boot, off both boots?

Obviously, by doing it from toddlerdom onwards. You need to have a bobbling ball on your feet, while in the kitchen, in the streets, on the way to school,…

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