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Guest blog with Matt Oldfield and Seth Burkett

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If your kids are footie-mad, you need to know about the new, interactive guide to the game Play Like Your Football Heroes

Co-written by Matt Oldfield, the author of Ultimate Football Heroes, and former professional footballer Seth Burkett, this is the perfect read for any child who dreams of being a football star. 

We asked both the authors to tell us a bit more about the book.

Check out Matt's guest blog about his top 3 favourite footballers below, PLUS a video from Seth about the book with some extremely impressive keepy-uppies.

Toppsta
2021-08-31
Guest blog with Matt Oldfield and Seth Burkett

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guest blog by matt oldfield on his favourite footballers

Asking me to pick my Top 3 favourite footballers is a bit like asking Bruce Bogtrotter to choose his favourite kind of cake.

ALL OF THEM – I LOVE ALL OF THEM!

But after spending a silly number of hours on this, here they are – my Top 3 football heroes, enjoy.

Toppsta
2021-08-31
Guest blog with Matt Oldfield and Seth Burkett

1) James Ward-Prowse

As a massive Southampton fan, I was desperate to include our captain and midfield maestro in ‘Play Like Your Football Heroes’, but Seth wouldn’t let me. Only joking, JWP just didn’t quite fit in amongst the Ronaldos and Messis of the football world, even though he is an absolute free-kick king (more on practising those in the ‘Train Smart’ section of the book). So instead, I’ve been able to include him here in this blog post. Thanks Toppsta!

Other than his set piece skills, my two favourite things about JWP are his work-rate and dedication. He’s not the biggest or the fastest player on the pitch, but you can guarantee that he will never stop running and tackling. When it comes to dedication to his team, JWP just won’t be beaten. He really is the ultimate pro. We’re talking about a guy who played every single minute of the last two Premier League seasons in a row; who has been at Southampton since he was eight (even though he’s from Portsmouth – Boooooooooo!) and who has just signed a new five-year contract. He’s a club legend already, and he’s only 26.

Oh and one final thing to end this love letter to JWP – his boots are the best. Forget flashy orange or neon blue; he always goes for old-school, classic black. Now that’s my kind of football hero.

2) Virgil van Dijk

‘Another Saints player, Matt!’ you might be thinking, but that’s not why he’s here, I promise. I love Virgil because he’s exactly the kind of defender I wish I could be when I’m out on the football pitch –calm, quick, powerful, and brilliant on the ball. But instead, sadly I’m the exact opposite – stressed, slow, weak and sloppy in possession!

Never mind, enough about me; back to Virgil. He’s one of those footballers who confuses the line between hero and superhero, because he’s absolutely amazing at everything: heading, tackling, blocking shots, outmuscling strikers, playing long passes, reading the game, telling teammates what to do. Everything! Maybe he isn’t human; that would make sense, actually. Anyway, I shouldn’t say any more about Virgil because he’s in our book, ‘Play Like Your Football Heroes’, and Seth won’t be happy if I spoil it.

3) Wendie Renard

From one world-class centre-back to another. Some people actually call Renard ‘the French Van Dijk’, but has Virgil ever scored 14 goals in one season? I don’t think so! Wendie has and not once, but twice. At 6ft 2in, she certainly has height on her side, but what makes her so brilliant is that she’s as skilful with her feet as she is with her head. In total, she has almost 150 goals for club (Lyon) and country (France), to go with 14 Division 1 Féminine titles and seven UEFA Women's Champions League trophies. Wendie is a born winner, that’s for sure, and a born leader too. Her calm personality and organisation skills make her the perfect captain.

Plus, her remarkable courage and strength, which are reflected in Renard’s own life story. She was born in Martinique, a French island in the Caribbean Sea, where ‘The boys and I would take off from school at the end of the day and we’d head to the beach and swim, and then play football. But even then I knew: I needed to play twice as hard, twice as smart, to get respect.’ When Wendie was eight, her father sadly died, and it was the beautiful game that gave her a purpose and a dream to work towards. A professional football player – that was what she was determined to become when she was older, even if that job didn’t really exist for women at that time.

Seven years later, Wendie flew to France for a trial and she was so terrific that Lyon signed her straight away. And look at her now – captain of Lyon, captain of France, a seven-time European champion playing in defence alongside Virgil Van Dijk in my fantasy football heroes 5-a-side team. I wonder if she would outscore even…

Toppsta
2021-08-31
Guest blog with Matt Oldfield and Seth Burkett

Thanks so much to Matt and Seth!

Play Like Your Football Heroes is out now - here's a sneak peek at some of the pages.


Toppsta
2021-08-31
Guest blog with Matt Oldfield and Seth Burkett

The short chapters tell us the secrets we can learn from 20 footballing legends, such as how to overcome adversity like Harry Kane and how to score like Vivianne Miedema, as well as challenges and training tips.

Toppsta
2021-08-31
Guest blog with Matt Oldfield and Seth Burkett

The book manages to be practical, inspirational and funny, with brilliant black-and-white illustrations by Tom Jennings. It's perfect for getting children reading who may not enjoy fiction, whether they are life-long fans of the beautiful game or new converts since Euro 2020!

Toppsta
2021-08-31
Guest blog with Matt Oldfield and Seth Burkett
Book pages Placeholder Book

Play Like Your Football Heroes: Pro tips for becoming a top player

From Matt Oldfield, the author of Ultimate Football Heroes, and former professional footballer, Seth Burkett, comes an exciting new book for young football stars in the making. In bite-size chapters, learn the secrets of 20 footballing legends, including how to dribble like Messi, overcome adversity like Harry Kane and set and score goals like Vivianne Miedema. With top tips on how to train, play, think and live smart, as well as challenges for the reader, this inspiring and interactive guide will inspire football-mad kids to play just like their heroes.

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30th August 2021

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Featured Book
Eddie Albert and the Amazing Animal Gang: The Amsterdam Adventure
Eddie Albert and the Amazing Animal Gang: The Amsterdam Adventure

BOOK OF THE MONTH: The hilarious and action-packed middle grade adventure from beloved comedian and bestselling author Paul O’Grady. Perfect for ages 8+

View book
Featured Books