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You’re in goal – live with it

OPINION: After a sobering few weeks for goalkeepers – footballers who weren’t good enough to play out on the pitch – we must ask why Petr Cech is still trying to ‘play out’ from the back

06 September, 2018 — By Richard Osley

Petr Cech – a nice beta chap with a sensible haircut

THERE’S two reasons why you end up in goal.

The first is that you aren’t “alpha” enough. No alpha male goes in goal. You never see the school dreamboat in goal. Goalkeepers in school and youth teams usually instead have sensible haircuts, and a satchel. And when they become grown up goalkeepers, until recently at least, they still have sensible haircuts.

I saw the goalkeeper at Cardiff was sporting some attempt at a Mohican against Arsenal on Sunday, a product of a life crisis, possibly, the chap having realised he’s going to spend most of his life as a goalkeeper. How depressing.

The Manchester City goalkeeper has similarly tattooed his neck presumably to feel more part of the cool kids in the outfield gang. But most have sensible haircuts.

The second reason you end up in goal is blunt: you were not good enough to play out on the pitch.

You thought you were, but you weren’t.

There were hopes and visions of being the next Pele, clicking out Cruyff turns and dribbling like Messi, but they were just desperate dreams.

This obvious sore point is revealed whenever a goalkeeper is hauled forward by a losing team in a cup match for an injury-time corner. There are thousands and thousands of football matches played around the world every year, so the law of probabilities suggest at some stage the ball is going to bounce off a marauding goalkeeper’s head and go in.

Whenever this happens it is shared on social media like the goalkeeper is an all-time champion but worse, the goalkeeper often reacts as if he has scored one of the greatest goals of all time, sprinting away like he’s better than Ronaldo. Mate, it bounced off your head. It was a tap-in.

In their absolute bliss, they reveal that what they had really always hoped for was to be an outfield player; a goalscorer.

But instead they were a goalkeeper, not a proper footballer. Not alpha enough, not good enough; these may be sobering facts for goalkeepers but they are true and on the grounds of the latter at least, we must ask why is Petr Cech trying to “play out” from the back?

Sir Twinkletoes’ job is simply to get the ball as far away from the goal as possible. Kick it as hard as he can.

The embarrassed Liverpool keepers of recent times should learn to do the same.

This may not sound cultured, but even if Cech, who seems like a nice beta chap with a sensible haircut, was able to pass it confidently out from the back, it would sooner or later only end up with Granit Xhaka who would pass it straight to the opposition. Get the ball, kick it. That’s all you were ever supposed to do.

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