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Garath McCleary: Quick out of the traps

“Once I get going no full-back can catch me, but I’m a slow starter. How do I make the most of the first five yards?
Billy Parsons, via Twitter

Garath McCleary says:

“Anticipate where and when to move – mainly off the ball. Just before coming into the professional game a senior pro gave me some sound advice.

When Ronaldo was at Man United people used to say he was lazy, but he said: ‘Watch what he does when he’s not in possession. He always works in opposite movements: short to go long, in to go out...’ This is something I always try to do.

I would advise young players to watch players at the top of the game and emulate things they do. I do a lot of leg weights after training to build explosive power.

Squats and rubber-band work are the two main exercises I do. A few years back I bought a mini-parachute and I’d sprint with it from the byline to halfway line. I’d do two sets of 10 repetitions.

This really improved my wing play because running against a strong resistance helped me to build the explosive power I need to burst away from defenders in a game.”

For more football tips see:
Beat your man to the ball
Soup up your sprint speed
Be quicker off the mark
Change direction in a flash
Get rapid-fire footwork
Be first to the through ball