We asked the set-piece specialist for his free-kick secrets!
Hi James, What is the secret to striking a good free-kick?
James says: "Don’t strike the ball too aggressively, always make sure you’re in control of the free-kick."
What part of the ball do you strike?
James says: "I always make sure the Nike tick on the ball is facing upwards, striking the bottom right-hand side of the ball, to generate some topspin – almost like a forehand in tennis!"
How do you decide where you’re going to aim the free-kick – what goes through your mind?
James says: "The goalkeeper’s starting position is always a good indicator – analyse whether they’ve taken a certain amount of steps to a particular side. You then begin to get a good idea of which part of the goal you’re going to aim for!"
What is your preferred technique?
James says: "Always take a couple of steps away from the ball, attack it with the inside of your foot, keeping your head over the ball, and try to aim for a certain corner, generating as much power and whip as possible."
How do you stay calm under pressure when you get a free-kick in a crucial moment of the game?
James says: "Once you’ve got your position spot on, don’t rush, I tend to take a few deep breaths so I am completely focused on getting my technique spot on!"