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Gus Poyet: Time your run into the box

“I don’t score many from midfield. I’ve got a decent shot but never seem to time my runs well. Can you learn to be ‘in the right place at the right time’?”
Ajay Amin, via email

Gus Poyet says:

“Some people are born with good timing, but if you’re not so lucky you can be taught to improve by practising in training.

Timing was probably my greatest asset as a player. I couldn’t mark and I couldn’t run, but I could time a run and be in the right place at the right time.

Maybe that’s what scouts spotted in me when I was young, because if you consistently time runs well it’s a huge advantage to the team.

One of the key things is to know which player is delivering the ball. Is it David Beckham, who is going to supply a forward cross from a deeper position? Or Aaron Lennon, who will go past a defender before crossing back on himself?

There’s only one way to understand how a player will deliver the ball and that’s by training with them regularly and playing with them in games.

You need to talk to them, watch and understand how they play in different situations, how they hit the ball and where they deliver it.”

For more football tips see:
Train hard, finish easy
Michael Ballack: How to be the complete midfielder
Shoot like Frank Lampard
Frank Lampard: Be first to the ball

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Andy Mitten
Andy Mitten

Andy Mitten is Editor at Large of FourFourTwo, interviewing the likes of Lionel Messi, Eric Cantona, Sir Alex Ferguson and Diego Maradona for the magazine. He also founded and is editor of United We Stand, the Manchester United fanzine, and contributes to a number of publications, including GQ, the BBC and The Athletic.