In our new feature focusing on the best skills in the beautiful game, Danny Owen takes a detailed look at the Stepover – one of the oldest tricks in the book.
While the reliable abode of the white-booted trickster, the simple stepover is the sort of low-risk trick even sixteen-stone Steve can pull off with minimal fuss after a night on the tiles. Yet, when executed with pace and panache, full-backs are left dazed and dazzled by a cyclone of garish Nikes.
The stepover really is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Its origins remain unknown, yet Luis Figo, Chris Waddle and, yes you guessed it, Glenn Roeder, became revered exponents of this old-school swindle. What do you mean you’ve never heard of the ‘Roeder Shuffle’?
Now, it’s undergone something of a revamp, mainly thanks to one man in particular. Cristiano Ronaldo has come a long way since bamboozling Nicky Hunt on his Manchester United debut as a willowy, peroxide-permed 18-year-old. It’s easy to forget football’s preening pedigree racehorse was once dubbed a ‘one-trick pony’ after all. Yet, CR7 remains the undisputed King of the Stepover. And the knuckleball free-kick. And the thumping header. And the backheel, the chop, and the 25-yard scorcher. Well, you get the idea.
Talk to anyone about Ronaldo. Cristiano they’ll assume. But you mean his predecessor, the phenomenon. Brazilian Ronaldo, ‘Fat Ronaldo’ they ask? The one with the dodgy fringe who does that poker advert? It’s fair to say the current generation didn’t see the best of the modern era’s finest centre-forward. So here’s the original Ronaldo, becoming the World Cup’s all-time record goalscorer in 2006 (skip to 1:50, you won’t regret it, if only for the soundtrack)
This, though, this is just silly from mid-noughties throwback Mancini. Count the stepovers. Anthony Reveillere got to about six before everything went blurry.
And, finally, Riyad Mahrez. Of Leicester City. They won the Premier League you know?
Where there’s a will there’s a way apparently. Now, if there’s one word that describes Danny Welbeck it’s willing. But there was absolutely no way this was going to result in anything other than an early release of the long-awaited Bradley Walsh’s Soccer Shockers Volume 2.
The mud-drenched marsh of the nearby ‘green’ may not be totally conducive to the smooth sweep of the stepover but follow these tips and at least make a better job of it than a 35 cap England international hey?
By Danny Owen, @danny8195 on Twitter.