Updated: Jul 16
It's April 14th 1999
A poor misplaced pass by Arsenal's midfielder Patrick Vieira; lands at Ryan Giggs feet, inside his own half. Giggs has misplaced passes himself since coming on as substitute, so decides to run it. With the game in deadlock at 1-1, deep into extra time: Villa Park as host for this FA Cup Semi Final, lets out an exhausted but anticipatory roar.
Giggs drives onwards: at full pace, the ball pushed forward with every left foot stride, ensuring that it stays under control, close to his body. With 4 defenders between him and the goal: 40 yards out, he tempts the 1st one in close to tackle. With a jink to the right, his foot moves in that direction, landing in the grass, and as it does, he bounces off it to the left, diagonally pushing the ball away from the beaten defender. His balance and lightness of foot is ballet like, graceful with purpose.
As the next defender approaches: a double shuffle of feet behind the ball, leaves him in his wake. Now at the edge of the box: he sees the hole, the gateway that defenders are unaware of when they pair up to defend an attacker who is dribbling directly at them. It's an unconscious leaving of responsibility to the other defender to tackle. Giggs attacks the hole. With a quick tap of the ball between his feet, he is through, now inside the box. Without hesitation he strikes a ferocious shot into the roof of the net. The crowd erupts: he's scored the winner and not just any winner, one of the FA Cup's greatest goals.
As hard as you may try; not everyone can play like a Ryan Giggs. His athleticism: speed, balance, incredible engine, were gifts of nature; honed superbly through his well renowned dedication for training and improvement. However, you can learn, and practice specific techniques regularly displayed by players like Ryan.
One such skill he consistently displayed when faced by a defender was: the sublime way he moved the ball with the outside of his left foot, before skipping/jumping across to the right with the ball on his inside foot, then pushing the ball back out to the left with his outside foot. It happens so quickly it's easy to miss and I dare say is purely a natural technique Ryan developed as a kid and continued to improve.
If you are looking for a great one v one skill that will certainly buy you time and space, we have captured this technique in Module 9 'Outside. Inside, Outside' Pay attention to the instructions as it's a real tricky one to master but once you have it down, you'll use all the time.
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Have fun, happy playing!