Former Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool and Celtic defender Kolo Toure lifted the lid on the youth football training methods that he went through during his time as a youngster in the Ivory Coast.
The 36-year-old, who experienced unbeaten seasons with both Arsenal and Celtic, retired last season and now works as a coach for the Bhoys having joined Brendan Rodgers’ coaching staff as a technical advisor.
Speaking to Si Ferry’s Open Goal Toure explained that before he even thought about putting on a pair of boots the likes of himself, brother Yaya, Gervinho and Didier Zokora were all made to perform training drills barefoot until they began to master the technique.
The Ivorian legend attributes these tough methods of training to his and his fellow countrymen’s acute ability to control a football.
“We had some exercises we had to do before we got a reward like football boots,” Toure said.
“Before I was playing barefoot just to have the feeling of the ball”.
“When you go the Brazil you see kids playing on the sand on the beach barefoot and that’s where you know the ball really.
MORE CELTIC STORIES
“Before you get your football boots you had to do a few exercises we used to call degrees which were technical exercises.”
Toure’s comments happen to coincide with a period of time where UK football academies are receiving much media coverage.
England’s Joey Barton even explained in a recent BT Sport documentary No Hunger in Paradise that, “£600 a week is enough for young players,” suggesting that anymore would, “only get you in trouble.”
It seems unlikely to ever take off in the modern game across European youth academies, but perhaps there is some method behind the madness when it comes to these unorthodox training regimes.
After all, the four players mentioned above won over 80 caps each for their country, three of them with over a century. Not bad at all.