Everybody loves a bit of flair in a football game. Distracting us from the monotony of sideways and predictable passing, a bit of creative skill keeps us well immersed in the game, and keeps us talking after it.
Neymar’s sombrero flick, Ronaldinho’s no-look pass, Messi’s body feints, Ronaldo’s stepovers(and chop), Cruyff’s turn, Panenka’s penalty and McGeady’s spin.
These are some of the skills that have mesmerized us over the years of watching football. One particular skill that goes overlooked comes from legendary Arsenal striker Thierry Henry.
Famously known as Henry’s trick pass, the skill involves the player shaping to shoot or pass with one foot, but the pass is made by the standing foot in the motion that would lead to a normal pass; tending to wrong-foot opponents and catch them off-guard. It’s much easier to watch than explain.
Not a lot of attempts of such a pass have been seen since the retirement of the Frenchman. That is, until now. In Leeds’ most recent Championship game versus Preston, Leeds defensive midfielder Kalvin Phillips played this very pass that Henry made so famous.
After a cross into the Preston box in the second half was cleared out, Phillips got himself on the ball and drove forward. He then successfully completed the trick pass, finding teammate Ayling on the right edge of the box.
With Leeds leading at the time the pass was made, fans were quick to acknowledge and praise the skill, even though it may have been overlooked as Leeds went on to win the game 2-0 comfortably.
It was one of those moments that, if you blinked, you’d probably miss it. Thanks to the wonders of television recording and the internet, we are able to relive that moment, and many such moments of creativity and brilliance.