Keeper no. 2? Striker no. 6? ‘OCD’s worst nightmare’

3 Aug

Joe Wildsmith and Steven Fletcher

Joe Wildsmith and Steven Fletcher have out-of-the-ordinary squad numbers

The announcement of squad numbers are typically fairly timid affairs, rarely raising the eyebrow of supporters as everyone gets what everyone else was expecting.

Until now.

Championship side Sheffield Wednesday have given goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith the number two shirt – typically reserved for a right-back – and striker Steven Fletcher the number six – usually given to a defender or midfielder.

In fact, only six of the first 11 available numbers have been given to players, with the Owls preferring to have Scotland midfielder Barry Bannan as number 41 and forward Atdhe Nuhiu as 44.

Twitter has, inevitably, reacted in the way that only Twitter can…

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Sheffield Wednesday<!–

Sheffield Wednesday<!–

Other unexpected numbers

While Wildsmith’s shirt number appears a bit rogue, it is not the first time in English football a goalkeeper has adorned the number.

Keeper Billy Mercer, formerly of rivals Sheffield United, was given the number by Bristol City, even wearing it at Wembley in the Auto Windscreens Shield final defeat by Stoke City in 2000.

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Mercer being beaten by Stoke City midfielder Graham Kavanagh

At the 1982 World Cup in Spain, Argentina decided to organise their squad numbers alphabetically, giving midfielder Ossie Ardiles the number one shirt and the three goalkeepers the numbers two, seven and 16.

But there was one exception. Talismanic forward Diego Maradona kept his iconic number 10 shirt.

Ossie Ardiles and Zico<!–

Ossie Ardiles (right) tackles Zico of Brazil at the 1982 World Cup, wearing the number one shirt

Scotland international Fletcher is also not alone in having an unusual number for a front man.

Famously, former Sunderland forward Asamoah Gyan wears the number three for Ghana, and it seems to work well for him having scored 48 goals in his 95 international appearances.

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Asamoah Gyan likes the number three so much he even incorporated it into his hairstyle at the 2014 World Cup

Other strikers to have won numbers some would see as not befitting of a player in that position include the number 52 for Nicklas Bendtner at Arsenal, Clint Dempsey’s number two shirt at Tottenham and Samuel Eto’o donning number five for Everton.


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