Question from a casual American fan: At the pro levels (Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga,) is it more or less safe to assume that any striker (or really, any player,) is going to be almost, or entirely, as adept with their wrong foot than with their right foot? I’m guessing that at that level of play, any player who can’t take complete advantage of a scoring opportunity “because it wasn’t an angle for my preferred foot” wouldn’t stay on the roster, right?
I don’t think that is quite correct.
You would be safe to assume that any pro player would be competent at that level with either foot. They may well be better or favour one foot than the another. And there are right footers who have developed to be better with their left foot but still write right handed
Maradonna was considered to be stronger on his left and almost invariably shot with his left
And if Pele thinks that, well there’d have to be a reasonable case albeit rivalry between arguably the two best ever.
No. It’s extremely extremely rare for a player to be just as good with both feet. I’m a fan of Barcelona, one of the top teams in La Liga, and the only player on the roster that I would consider two footed is Ousmane Dembele. Lionel Messi, clearly favors his left and Luis Suarez clearly favors his right. Now, both players are ok with their off feet, but Suarez in particular will make use his right foot when a far more natural play would be with the left and he’s considered, I dunno, top 3 (5?) strikers of the past 20 years.
OK thanks, but generally, any competent player, presented with a scoring opportunity that he can only convert with his wrong foot, could still hammer it hard and true, right?
Hmm, no, I don’t think so. I can’t think of anything exactly, but I’m sure I’m seen players pass with the ball on their weak foot when they would have shot if it was on their strong foot.
You can clearly see the differences in preferences and competency levels when you’re watching. A “wrong foot” goal is notable enough for observers to mention. It’s just that the world class players are way better than everyone else when it comes to using their off leg.
I mean, they could do it better than me.
Others have mentioned that even top strikers tend to favour one foot over another, but defensive midfielders and defenders may be actually bad at striking for goal, even at top level. The thing to remember is that there are very few ‘open goal’ situations where the attacker is presented with an easy strike - the ball will certainly be moving, possibly with unexpected spin if it’s being passed to him, and there may be defenders trying to get in the way (from behind or the side, if not in front - reducing the time they’ve got) and the goalkeeper as well of course. Any top flight footballer will be able to complete ‘tap-ins’ with either foot, but they are rare.
No, in the same way that other sporting skills see a distinct favouring of feet or hands (in most cases) it is much the same for football.
Dual-footed players exist of course but it is much more the norm that a player is excellent with one and “serviceable” with the other
I play sports and write right handed but I do pretty much everything else right handed. Maybe I really am left handed. Really good BB players are better at moving to their off hand but they still shoot with their dominant hand.
I just wanted to say that these aren’t the pro levels; these, with the Spanish league, are the absolute elite financial pinnacle of the game. As things stand, full time professional football goes down to much lower levels. I think in England it goes down at least as far as the 5th tier, which means that for every Premier League club there are at least 4 more full time clubs in England. Scotland has around 20 full time clubs, including almost the whole of the 2nd tier. Below these levels are myriad semi-professional clubs (having said all this, COVID-19 might well put a lot of smaller clubs out of business or force them to go part-time).
La Liga is the Spanish league. Out of the big 4, Serie A (Italy) is missing. Some people include Ligue 1 (France) in a big 5 leagues, but I think that’s a stretch.
Top players still score wonderful goals with their wrong foot every now and then: https://www.planetfootball.com/quick-reads/best-wrong-foot-goals-messi-ronaldo-kasami-robben-cisse/
I of course know this D’oh!
I’ll count France as one of the top leagues once they don’t need to count to Intertoto Cup to exceed the Netherlands, or for that matter Scotland, in European trophy wins.
True, and though I’m nowhere near a pro the best goal I ever scored was a 25 yard, curving, top corner screamer that I hit with my wrong foot.
However, it was hit through desperation rather than design or choice and repeating the same type of shot 50 times on each foot would show you exactly which was my favoured foot and why.
I always felt that Messi is extremely one-footed. Even when he shoots with his right, it’s rarely fast and looks pretty awkward. You can always see defenders favoring his left side. But his movement is just ridiculous, so he invariably dribbles past them, and then is able to shoot or pass with the left.
Suarez, on the other hand, seems to get off solid and precise shots with his left foot, even if he is right-footed
I think, based on my very amateur playing experience, that footedness mostly comes out when the player is trying to hit hard (shooting on goal or a long pass). Even with my limited talent and experience, for short and medium passes, I’d use whatever foot was most convenient. For a long pass or free kick I’d only use my dominant foot (and not make the pass if I couldn’t get the ball to my dominant foot. But you’re probably not making a long pass if you don’t have time and space to move the ball to the other foot anyway). For shots, using my dominant foot was stronger and more accurate, but a shot with the off-foot is better than no shot at all of course. Only pretty long outside shots would get passed up just because they’re on the wrong foot (and again, you probably wouldn’t be taking that kind of shot if you didn’t have a bit of space/time anyway)
Everyone has a favorite foot. When I coached youth soccer, I told the kids that you can play soccer using only your strong foot. However, you aren’t a soccer player until you can use both feet.