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Wednesday, 23 October, 2002, 07:29 GMT 08:29 UK
The James Beattie column
James Beattie


You can do a lot in three minutes.

You could hard-boil an egg in that time, but you wouldn't want to be hanging around waiting to take a penalty for that long.

Somebody put a clock on the time between referee Steve Bennett blowing his whistle to award our penalty at Aston Villa on Monday evening, and me taking it, and it was almost three minutes.


I put the penalty in the same place I would have put it had Peter Enckelman still been in between the posts

That's a long time - you try holding your breath for that long!

There was no question of any gamesmanship on Villa's part of the sort that Fabien Barthez indulged in.

But by the time Villa decided who was going to make way for their new goalkeeper and brought him on, I had been hanging about for some time.

In a situation like that, the worst thing you can do is to stand on the penalty spot, with your foot on the ball, waiting.

I just wandered off and cleared my head. You want the time between placing the ball on the spot and striking it to be as short as possible.

Southampton striker James Beattie celebrates a goal
Off the mark! There's no better feeling than scoring a goal

It didn't bother me that a new goalkeeper was coming out to face me.

I know that when Russell Hoult was sent off for West Brom a couple of weeks back his substitute Joe Murphy saved the resulting penalty with his first touch.

Goalkeepers are generally on a hiding to nothing in facing penalties, but it must be to the taker's advantage that he is facing somebody who is coming to the game stone cold.

I don't know too much about Stefan Postma, only that he is a big guy!

I put the penalty in the same place I would have put it had Peter Enckelman still been in between the posts.

It doesn't make a lot of difference who is in goal. Providing you strike the ball with enough pace and put it where you want it, the goalkeeper shouldn't save it anyway.


I don't think there are any in the Southampton dressing-room who spend time preening in front of the mirror before they go out

Believe me, given the chance to get off the mark for the season from the penalty spot, there was no way the keeper was going to save it!

One thing I'm often asked is whether players take extra care with their appearance if they know they're on live television.

There are one or two high-profile players - no names! - who put a bit of extra hair gel in, or get their hair cut knowing they are going to be on live TV.

But I don't think there are any in the Southampton dressing-room who spend time preening in front of the mirror before they go out.

We're not that bothered what we look like!

Southampton striker James Beattie writes for BBC Sport Online


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