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The proud Bostonian tells us what life is like behind-the-scenes in England’s top-flight with Q&A’s, first-person pieces and more. This week, he talks us through the long throw which he has taken up this season at Stoke and how he perfects it. You can watch Geoff and Stoke take on Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium this Sunday, live on NBCSN and online via Live Extra, at 8:30 a.m. ET.
So, why the long throw?
When you have big guys like Peter Crouch and Jonathan Walters in the box, they are really good in the air so you just want to give them an opportunity to put their head on it. It always causes problems for other teams, I don’t even think I really have a long throw! I just throw it into those guys in good areas and they do the damage.
What is the key to making the most of it?
You need to know how to throw it into the right areas. And then all you need is a flick, some kind of redirection and then it goes to one of our teammates who can hopefully put a shot on goal. When you get that opportunity to attempt a long throw, you have to get guys anticipating the knock downs and ready to pounce so you can make the most of it.
Is there a signal for when you go out to take them?
When you get into the final third or about 40-yards out, that’s usually a sign to go out to the flank and send one in. Often it is just a case of chucking it in the box from wherever you are and then see what happens!
Do you practice them?
No. Not at all. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good skill to have but I definitely think my play with my feet and my tactical brain are among my strengths as a player. We don’t practice it at all in training. You usually hear from the sidelines that the coaches want you to throw it down the line, so you already know how you set that up and then you just launch it in there.
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Why did you start doing it this season?
When you have a guy like Crouchy and all those other bid dudes we have, they are so good in the air. So often, you will throw one down the line and have those guys hold it up or flick it to a guy that is running forward so you can get in behind the other teams defense quickly. Plus, it is hard to defend a player who is way over six feet tall when the ball is lofted up and you have to challenge him.
Where do you aim?
I loft it up in an area where I know he [Crouch] can get to it with his head so he can flick it on and get the other teams defense running back towards their own goal. So I usually aim just outside the six-yard box. What that does is allows us to step our lines up and get organized into two banks of four so we can build some pressure on the opposition, or sometimes it just helps to relieve some pressure. That is part of my job for the team so if they need me to do it, I will do it.
Stoke has had a long line of guys with incredible long throws. Are you the next one on that list?
Oh no! I remember seeing clips of Rory Delap and then there was Ryan Shotton. Man, they could throw it miles and get it to the back post. I am nothing compared to those guys. But I guess I did win the NBA half court contest recently out of the U.S. national team boys… so maybe I am a little better than I give myself credit for! Watch out, Tom Brady…
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