Kasper Schmeichel & Peter Shilton

Schmeichel Meets Shilton, Part Five: Obstructions & Marking Systems

The final part of LCFC TV’s Schmeichel Meets Shilton sees the two goalkeepers converse about the difficulties of defending set-plays.
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Over the past five weeks, the feature has provided an insight into the challenges goalkeepers face, and how the position has developed since the 1960s up until the present day.

Kasper Schmeichel, City’s current No.1, and Peter Shilton, England’s all-time leading appearance maker, finalise their discussion by analysing the rigours of ensuring goalkeepers command their area during corners and free-kicks.

On dealing with obstructions

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Jack Charlton
Jack Charlton

Shilton fondly remembers the battles he would have with Leeds United's Jack Charlton while defending set-plays.

Peter Shilton said: “I remember it was happening when I played in the ‘60s and ‘70s. In the ‘70s it came in when Leeds United, the great Leeds United team, started doing it. They started to bring in tactics like keep the ball in the corner flag when they’re winning with five minutes to go, and things like that. I do remember, they brought the thing where someone used to go and stand on the goalkeeper for a corner. They would throw the ball in the box. A lot of the time it was big Jack Charlton, who was a World Cup winner, obviously, and he’d go near post or far. As a ‘keeper, if you went to go for it, they used to put Billy Bremner on, and he used to just stand on your foot! Now, in those days, referees, weren’t used to it, so they were just watching the ball.”

Kasper Schmeichel said: “As a goalkeeper, you’re not an outfielder in the sense that you can’t just make a run to the near post and hope the ball comes in. You can make a run to the near post, it doesn’t go near you and nothing happens, but you have to go for the ball. By the time the ball is struck to the time it arrives in your six-yard box, on average, is between 0.6 and 0.8 seconds. So, you have 0.6 to 0.8 seconds to assess the flight, assess what’s next to you, assess if you can get it, assess if you can catch it, if you’re going to get hit… You have to be able to move in that time as well, and it just becomes more and more impossible."

On marking systems

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Kasper Schmeichel
Kasper Schmeichel

Schmeichel believes different marking systems determine the freedom of a goalkeeper in the area.

Kasper Schmeichel said: “I would always say to any team that as long as you’re within the rules, you should try and do it. We do put players on the opposition goalkeepers, but it comes down to tactics. If you play with a zonal marking system like we do, zonal marking makes it very, very difficult for any goalkeeper to come for crosses in the box from corners because when you do zonal marking, you have double the amount of traffic in front of you as you would have, for example, in man marking. Man marking makes it a lot easier because a lot of time on man marking, you’re not playing offsides or anything like that. You also stick a man on the guy in front of you and he would kind of just lean into him and move him away a little bit, just so you’ve got an extra yard to maybe move. Again, tactically, it comes down to how you defend corners. At the moment, it comes in trends. At the moment, the big trend is to go zonal and statistically zonal is the most effective, so you weigh up the risk and the reward again of that, [and] of also, the chance of if the ball does go out and there’s a man on you, if he does head it, then you will be offside. That is again, the gamble, or whatever you want to call it, that you’re taking by playing that system.”

On the support of your team-mates

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Billy Bremner
Billy Bremner

Shilton would often tangle with Leeds United's Billy Bremner in the penalty box.

Peter Shilton said: “I’ll tell you a funny story, Kasper. I played against the great Leeds United team at Filbert Street, down the Double Decker end, and it was muddy enough as it was. They used to bring big Jack Charlton up on the near post, swing the ball in, and even if you were favourite, you’d think you’re going to knock it or punch it away. Jack’s neck used to stretch six inches! They called him ‘the Giraffe’. He’d flick it on and somebody would be coming in the far post. We played at Filbert Street, big Jack came up and I thought he was on the near post. He went the far post and I thought: ‘What’s this about?’ Billy Bremner came and stood on me and they flung the ball to the far post, in the six-yard box, [it’s] my ball, I went to go for it, but Billy Bremner stood on my foot and Jack came in and header the ball in the net. I looked at the referee and he started running up the pitch! I’m on my bike, chasing the referee, I get about 20 or 30 yards outside the box and there was four white shirts. One of them, God bless him, passed away, Norman Hunter. [There was] a screen between me and the referee, and I put the brakes on, as you would against four, and I looked around and [there was] one blue shirt within 20 yards of me! Thanks for the support, lads!”

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