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Liverpool midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai has enjoyed a promising start to his Anfield career, following a £60million move from RB Leipzig this summer. It appears that he has been primed for a future at the top for a very long time, with his father playing a big role in nurturing the Hungary star thanks to some extreme tactics.
The Athletic have claimed that Szoboszlai’s father forced him to wear smaller-sized boots than necessary in order to prevent his son’s feet from growing. Zsolt Szoboszlai, a former footballer who played in the lower leagues of Austrian football, felt that having smaller feet coupled with the proper training – he would become an expert ball striker.
That was just one of the numerous unorthodox devices that Zsolt used in order to aid his son, having also practised with golf balls instead of footballs and at the age of three using plastic bottles to help the toddler slalom with the ball according to reports.
It remains unknown whether Zsolt’s efforts directly helped his son become a hugely successful professional footballer, but experts have played down the role that having small feet has on improving someone’s technique.
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Former Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen explained: “What impact does the size of your feet have on striking the ball? Not that much, because it all comes down to your technique, your body position and how you use your arms and your core.
“[Cristiano] Ronaldo is over six foot but is a size nine and he wasn’t a bad player. [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic, too. They’re both great goalscorers so I think there’s very little significance in terms of how players connect with the ball and strike it in relation to the size of their feet.”
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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has been impressed with his new addition, however, though made no mention of Szoboszlai’s size sevens ahead of Sunday’s trip to Newcastle. “[I liked] what everybody saw: his energy combined with technique [and] desire,” the manager told Sky Sports after victory over Bournemouth the previous week.
“He has pretty much all the attributes you want to see – and the last thing you would think when you see him playing is he is only 22, so there is a lot more to come when he settles in properly.
“Obviously, he has no problem to adapt to everything in an instant, but there is still more to come and we are really pleased. We are really pleased, from the first day since he was here he is full of energy. [He is] in the middle of the team already and, yes, it’s good news.”
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