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11 redeeming features of pre-season friendlies

Stars coming to Ireland, bad Panenka penalties and more overlooked delights.

THE MERE MENTION OF the words ‘pre-season friendly’ is enough to induce a groan in the average football fan.

With little at stake and players usually more interested in improving their fitness than the outcome of the game, it can often make for fairly dull encounters.

However, it’s not all bad, as the list below illustrates.

1. It’s one of the occasions that you’re most likely to see an embarrassingly bad Panenka penalty, á la Jermaine Jenas for Newcastle a few years back

Source: Allfootballgoals012/YouTube

2. Ditto, premature substitutions

Source: Christian O'Neill/YouTube

3. You might be lucky enough to spot your team’s next star

Source: Candy Coincentration/YouTube

4. It’s always interesting to watch the odd player who’s put on a little too much weight in the summer

Soccer - Sky Bet Football League One - Swindon Town v Gillingham - County Ground Source: David Davies

5. Seeing teams who are plainly out of of their depth is always fun (unless it’s your own team)

Source: Samuele7Ronaldo/YouTube

6. There’s always a chance something insane might happen

Source: lilywhite1982/YouTube

7. Even lesser players sometimes become overly confident and acquire the self-belief to ‘try things’

Source: rhyspabsolom/YouTube

8. It gives fans a chance to make their mind up on the new manager early on

Moyesout

Screengrab via 101 Great Goals

9. Aside from Football Manager and reserve-team football, it’s the only evidence you have to hype up some barely-known youngster who’s not yet ready for competitive action

Jack Grealish

10. You never know, a big team might just show up in Ireland

Ian Bermingham and Cristiano Ronaldo Source: James Crombie/INPHO

(Shamrock Rovers’ Ian Bermingham and Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid compete for the ball)

11. Most of the top players really don’t do ‘friendlies’

Source: byRafaelsales/YouTube

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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