Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Lineker foot in 'ideal footballer'

Gary Lineker's foot is included in William Hill's 'ideal footballer'

He has Gary Lineker's right foot, Gordon Banks' hands and David Beckham's brain.

But unfortunately for the England team, the "ultimate English footballer" won't be leading the national side to glory in Brazil.

The nation's perfect player has been suggested by bookmakers William Hill who enlisted the help of experts at sports data company Opta to compile statistics on the top attributes of England's best-loved football heroes into an ideal player.

The ultimate player is made up of Banks' hands, Paul Gascoigne's hips, Geoff Hurst's left foot and Gary Lineker's right, along with Bobby Moore's "engine" and Terry Cooper's heart.

William Hill said Banks has the best save percentage of all England goalkeepers, keeping out 89% of all shots faced, and has also averaged the most saves per game for the Three Lions at World Cups.

Opta's statistics suggest Paul Gascoigne bears England's best hips, attempting more dribbles than any other English player in the tournament, and awards left-back Terry Cooper the team's strongest heart, averaging most tackles and winning duels per game.

England's 1966 world cup captain Bobby Moore is named as the ideal "engine" for the ultimate player, because of England players to have played more than three games in World Cups, he averaged the most touches of the ball per game, at 87.

Geoff Hurst is named as the best left foot after managing five left-footed goals including his famous hat-trick in the 1966 World Cup final, while Lineker is the right foot, scoring seven right-footed goals at World Cups, four more than any other Englishman, according to Opta.

And the ultimate player's head is that of Sol Campbell, who is said by the company to have the best aerial duel percentage of all England players.

All that is brought together by former captain Beckham, who was named as England's 'best brains', providing six assists and creating 33 goal chances.

William Hill spokesman Joe Crilly said: " Who would have had Becks as the brightest brain to grace an England shirt? But the stats don't lie."

Despite the non-existence of the "ultimate player", William Hill is expecting to pay out more than £2 million on bets on the national team taking the title after the bookmaker cut the team's odds from 33/1 to 25/1, putting them on a par with group rivals Italy, and Ronaldo-powered Portugal.

William Hill said the tournament is expected to be the biggest sporting event in history, with estimates already suggesting that it alone will take £200 million from over 17 million bets.

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