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30th Mar 2023

Ian Harte on why his free-kick record doesn’t get same credit as David Beckham’s

Lee Costello

Harte Beckham

“Back when I played, it was Beckham or me.”

Ian Harte was one of the most prolific dead-ball specialists in football, and thanks to our new House of Football podcast, we learn more about the great technician.

Harte was best known for his time at Leeds United, where he played at the highest level in the Premier League and Champions League.

He was of course a key member of the Republic of Ireland team that fought so valiantly at the 2002 World Cup – but the way he was able to score free kicks will always be his trademark.

Harte Beckham

House of Football presenter Eric Lalor picked the brains of his guest. during the first episode of the podcast.

“When you’re watching the modern game today, is there anyone out there say in the Premier League who you highly regard as a as a dead ball specialist?” asked Lalor.

“Yeah, well, one person that jumps out is James Ward-Prowse,” said Harte.

“But people always used to say, obviously, back when I played, it was Beckham or me. Then people say Ronaldo and people mentioned Roberto Carlos

“But Roberto Carlos was known for that one goal, really against France and the guy behind the goals kind of ducks.

“But I think if you look on stats, the amount of free kicks that probably Ronaldo or Beckham took over mine – mine is higher than them. But I’m not a David Beckham or Cristiano Ronaldo, or English or Portuguese, I’m an Irish lad.

“So if you’re Brazilian, they’re putting your name in there in the mix.

“It was, normally, you know, it’s it’s just trying to visualise. I used to visualise the night before I get a free kick on the edge of the box.

“The best way of describing it is the white lines on a on a motorway. I used to visualise and think, Well, I’m gonna try and bend the ball over, get it up, top spin and down.

“That’s the way, up and down.”

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