Kick-ins ‘would be the biggest mistake and RUIN the joy of the game’, claims Liverpool throw-in coach – as he blasts Arsene Wenger’s proposal because it’ll ‘bring more long balls’ into football and ‘take a beautiful thing away’
- Football’s lawmakers IFAB have agreed to trial kick-ins instead of throw-ins
- The idea was first put forward by former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
- IFAB are looking for ways to reduce time-wasting – with this seen as one proposal
- Thomas Gronnemark has revolutionised Liverpool’s throw-ins since his hiring
Liverpool’s throw-in coach Thomas Gronnemark has launched an attack on Arsene Wenger, calling his proposal of introducing kick-ins the ‘biggest mistake’ in football.
On Monday it was announced that football’s lawmakers IFAB have agreed to test kick-ins as a replacement for throw-ins to speed up the game. Last season, effective playing time dropped to its lowest level in the Premier League since the 2010-11 season – with just 55 minutes and seven seconds of action on average.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino said proposals were in place to test kick-ins, first suggested in a raft of potential reforms put forward by Wenger in 2020.
Liverpool throw-in coach Thomas Gronnemark (right) says proposals to replace throw-ins with kick-ins ‘would be the biggest mistake and ruin the joy of the game for everyone’
In his role at FIFA, Arsene Wenger has set out to radically change old rules – including throw-ins
Last year, legendary ex-Arsenal boss Wenger argued for the return of the kick-in option that was removed in 1863. ‘The target is to make the game more spectacular and quicker,’ he said. ‘Maybe with throw-ins you could play with your feet in a limit of five seconds, for example.’
However, the Frenchman’s viewpoint is vehemently different to that of Gronnemark, who believes that idea would only prove detrimental to the sport from a playing and spectator viewpoint.
‘It would be the biggest mistake,’ the 46-year-old told Sky Sports.
‘They would be taking a beautiful thing away. But I am 100 per cent sure they will keep them because they will soon see if they trial it that maybe the ball won’t be lost as much with no pressure on the kicker and it will ruin the joy of the game for everyone.’
Elaborating as to why it would be ruinous for football, Gronnemark believes it would just mean more long balls will be played as teams go direct and try to pack the penalty area.
Ex-Arsenal boss Wenger feels the change would make football ‘more spectacular and quicker’
The likes of Rory Delap’s legendary long throws, which caused havoc during his time at Stoke, might not be needed any longer if Wenger is able to push through his new rules
AVG TIME BALL IN PLAY ACROSS ENGLAND’S TOP FOUR LEAGUES
‘There are many different reasons for it,’ he said when explaining his reasoning.
‘First of all, one of the big challenges with kick-ins is that when you have a free-kick in the opposition half there are teams who decide to put a lot of people into the box and treat it like a corner but from further out.
‘Introducing kick-ins will, for sure, bring more long balls into the game. There is no doubt about that. But even though that is a big challenge, and one of the big differences to a throw-in, for me it is just the start of the challenges that come with kick-ins.’
Gronnemark has been working with Liverpool since 2018, signing a new contract with the Reds last year. The Dane was recruited from trailblazing Scandinavian side Midtjylland and did hold the world record for the longest throw-in at 51.33m recorded in 2010.
The season before he moved to Anfield, Liverpool were 18th out of the 20 Premier League teams in retaining a throw-in under pressure (2017-18 term).
One campaign later and Liverpool had improved their throw-in retention under pressure percentage from 45.4 per cent to 68.4 per cent. This saw them rise from 18th in these standings to first in the Premier League – and second in Europe overall only behind Gronnemark’s other side Midtjylland.
Gronnemark’s impact on Liverpool’s throw-ins has been clear since joining the club in 2018
AVERAGE TIME BALL WAS IN PLAY FOR PREMIER LEAGUE TEAMS
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