Spot-kick king Clarke reveals penalty secrets
8:50am Saturday 31st December 2011 in U's News
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RYAN Clarke says the secret to his penalty success is simply down to good old psychology.
The Oxford United goalkeeper has a superb record of saving spot-kicks, as demonstrated once again by his full-stretch stop against
Northampton a fortnight ago.
And if Torquay are awarded a penalty today, Clarke says that he will continue with his tried and trusted method in order to try and add another save to his tally.
That will involve a quiet word in the ear of the penalty-taker in the build-up – and then hoping that he puts his effort where you think he will!
Clarke’s penalty record at Oxford is mightily impressive, with the opposition only scoring five out of 14 spot-kicks against him – the keeper making eight saves and seeing one miss the target.
“I have always gone down the psychological route with the striker before he takes it,” Clarke explained.
“I will have a look in the weeks leading up to the match and see if they’ve had a penalty and if so, which way they have gone and maybe double bluff them and talk them into going the same way.
“I always have something to say to them – I always try to stick something in their heads before they take it to try and give me a chance really.
“I stick by it as it has worked quite well for me in the past.”
Clarke’s save against Northampton came late in added time, and was all the more pleasing as it preserved a clean sheet – the second of three consecutive shut-outs.
“I enjoyed that one,” Clarke said.
“But although I got a hand to it, I didn’t think I had got enough on it so it was really nice to watch it go wide.
“I have always done OK on penalties and in shoot-outs.
“I don’t want to put the kiss of death on it, but I don’t think I have lost a shoot-out – hopefully that bodes well.”
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