Learn English Through Football Podcast: The Pecking Order
On today’s show I’ll be talking about some phrases connected with players who are not ‘starters’. These players are not in the first 11, but they are trying hard to get into the starting 11.
Here is an example from the Irish Mirror talking about the England team: ‘Rooney reckons the teenager (Mason Greenwood) is more of a natural goalscorer than Rashford and deserves to be second in the pecking order.’ Here Wayne Rooney, ex Manchester United and England striker is saying that Greenwood should be considered as the next choice striker, after Kane.
Stinger: You are listening to languagecaster.com (in Welsh)
OK, next we have two phrases to describe a player who has moved up the pecking order. The phrases are ‘push for a place‘ and ‘knock on the door‘.
Push for a place
The first phrase, push for a place, means a player is trying really hard in training to get a start int he first team. They are playing very well, which puts pressure on the manager. the manager has to decide whether to reward the effort of the player pushing for a place, and choose them for the team.
Here’s a BBC headline with an example from 2018 about the 18-year Ben Woodburn, then at Liverpool: ‘Wales boss Ryan Giggs is expecting Liverpool’s Ben Woodburn to be pushing for a first-team place next season.’
Knock on the door
The next phrase is knock on the door, which means a player is doing well in training, has maybe caught the manager’s eye, and should be considered for the first team. In this phrase, the ‘door‘ means the manager’s door, so the image is of a player knocking on the manager’s door to say they are ready for the first team.
Here is an example from the Liverpool Echo : “Jurgen Klopp has highlighted four Liverpool youngsters who are knocking on the door of the first team.” This line means that some youth players are close to the first team; they are close to opening the door to a starting place in the first team.
Another meaning of knock on the door is used in a game to describe a team putting pressure on their opponent and close to scoring – the ‘door’ on this case is the opponent’s defence.
Stinger: You are listening to languagecaster.com (Vasco da Gama fan)
So, there we have three phrases talking about players close to the first team: pecking order, push for a place and knock on the door.
Join Damian and me next year for more on the language of football. Have a happy, healthy and peaceful new year! Ta-ra!