Practice Makes Perfect For Garbutt
Wednesday, 16th Oct 2019 17:36
Practice is making perfect for Luke Garbutt as the extra work he puts into set pieces has seen his scoring ratio soar since joining Town on loan from Everton in the close season.
Garbutt’s emergence as a free-kick specialist has been one of the highlights of a season in which Town have played their way to the top of League One, remaining unbeaten in an 11-game run - plus a 12th on the final day of last season - that has seen them collect 27 points from a possible 33 courtesy of eight wins and three draws.
“I’ve practiced my free-kicks a lot this season,” said the player whose contract at Goodison Park expires at the end of this season, at which point many Town supporters would like to see him signed on a permanent deal.
“I’ve really homed in on it because it’s something I’ve wanted to build on throughout my career.
“I think I’ve always possessed good free-kicks and good set pieces but I’ve not really scored as many as I’ve wanted. This season I’ve tried to home in on practicing my free-kicks a lot more and it’s paying off. I want to keep that going really.
“I’ve just practiced between 10 and 15 free-kicks in training today and I also practiced some corners as well.
“It’s about retaining that feel for the ball and maintaining my confidence that I’m going to be able to execute them exactly how I want to execute them on match days.
“On a Friday we’ll practice set pieces and stuff so I might take 30 or so in a week maybe. I want to score from more direct free-kicks because I see that as a strong part of my game and I want more goals to my name.
“Today was good and I put six or seven in. I’m looking for the corner of the net but as long as I’m hitting the target I’m happy because even if the keeper makes a save the likes of Kayden or Nors could get a goal on the rebound. That means I am still contributing to the team.
“It’s a big weapon of mine and I want to improve on it all the time. I scored from one against Tranmere and used a different technique on the other one in that game.
“Normally I have a set way of taking my free-kicks but I tried something different with that one.
“It worked because it obviously went on target, the keeper parried it and Kayden scored. I’m always looking to try to get the ball on target and hopefully score.”
Warming to the subject, Garbutt explained how it works in training. “Basically, I set up a wall using the mannequins we have, wherever it might be, either on the left or on the right,” he added.
“I then spend time practicing the technique of hitting the target all the time or making the keeper work.
“Feeling confident over the ball is the main thing, really, because if you don’t feel confident there’s no point in you taking the free-kick. From that point of view it’s really something that I’ve tried to focus on.
“Have I modelled my technique on anyone? Well, I know David Beckham was right-footed and I’m left-footed, but he was the one I kind of looked up to.
“It was the way he used to strike a ball that I always admired, so I’ve always tried to base my free-kicks on the way he did it.
“Obviously, there’s a lot of talent and quality throughout the squad but taking set pieces is something I pride myself on.
“It’s a good quality of mine and I want to hone my skills and stamp my mark on it, which I have been doing, and hopefully I can maintain that.”
Garbutt’s free-kick goal against Tranmere, which fired Town into a 35th minute lead, is already being hailed by many as a contender for the club’s Goal of the Season award.
He recalled the moment and added: “I don’t think I’ve scored a better goal than that in my career. I scored a really good one for Oxford last year but I think the one against Tranmere pipped it.”
Of course, Garbutt is not the only scoring full-back at Portman Road, with Kane Vincent-Young revelling in his role on the right flank since arriving from Colchester and claiming two goals, the winner at Gillingham and the final one in the 4-1 home defeat of Tranmere.
Garbutt praised his team-mate, adding: “Kane’s a great player who goes forward really well and he’s chipped in with a couple of goals.
“As a squad in general, spreading the goals around can only benefit us. If it was just the strikers scoring all the time – and then they didn’t score – you might be wondering where the goals were going to come from.
“But so many players have contributed goals this season that you don’t know where they are going to come from.
“Teams playing against us can set up any way they like but players from all sorts of positions have been scoring for us.
“I also get pleasure in taking a free-kick that leads to a goal for someone else but I don’t think all my assists have actually been put down to me.
“However, if I’m helping the team and providing some assistance to my team-mates that is always the most important thing.
“Kayden has been latching on to chances by reacting quicker than opposing defenders. He’s been one step ahead, like at Fleetwood, and from that point of view it’s a big positive for us as a team.”
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