Rafa Benitez has become the latest Premiership manager to wade into the debate surrounding the impact of modern day football boots on the recent upsurge in metatarsal injuries.
The Liverpool manager has recently had Adidas Predator Absolute duo Daniel Agger and Xabi Alonso ruled out after breaking bones in their feet and believes now is the time for an inquest into the problem.
Along with his Merseyside managerial counterpart, David Moyes, at Stanley Park neighbours Everton (see ‘Moyes blames football boots for metatarsal injuries’ article), Benitez has called on the leading football boot manufacturers to analyse why so many players are suffering metatarsal injuries.
‘Rafa the gaffer’ believes part of the problem might be the number of studs or blades on the soles of modern day football boots. He said: “Because I am really old, I like the old football boots. But now they change everything but I don’t know if that is the problem. Technology is very important but before we were playing with six studs and that was enough, now we see thirteen or twelve or eight in different positions. But really I don’t know. You cannot blame the football boots but something is wrong and maybe the big football boot companies need to analyse them.”
Benitez insists the fractures suffered by midfield dynamo Alonso and central defender Agger to their feet, and winger Jermaine Pennant to his shin, are a result of bad luck and is hopeful Liverpool’s fortunes on the injury front will soon improve.
He said: “I have been analysing the problems we have been having and when you talk about fractures it is something you cannot control. So all we can do is keep our fingers crossed and wait for the injured players to get better.”
The Reds, however, put their injury worries behind them this week by recording the highest ever score in Champions League history, with an 8-0 romp against Besiktas, a game in which Nike Mercurial Vapor football boot wearer Yossi Benayoun grabbed his first hat trick in Liverpool colours.
Other players who’ve crocked their “mets” lately include David Beckham (Adidas Predator Absolute Globe), Wayne Rooney (Nike Total 90 Laser), Lionel Messi (Adidas F50 Tunit 2), Robin van Persie (Adidas Predator Absolute Power), Steven Gerrard (Adidas Predator Absolute), Gary Neville (Adidas Predator Absolute), Scott Parker (Puma v-Konstrukt), Michael Owen (Umbro X Boot III), and Emile Heskey (Nike Air Legend).