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He’d put his foot in a washing-machine

March 19, 2018

A few days ago Harry Kane injured his ankle in Tottenham’s 4-1 victory over Bournemouth. Kane’s manager, Mauricio Pochettino made rather a peculiar comment on the incident. He said that Kane is such a brave and dedicated player that he would ‘put his foot in a washing-machine’ if he thought that would help him score a goal.

Hang on, Mauricio, just run that by me again. He’d put his foot in a what?

This metaphor does not seem to work on any level. You would never increase your chances of scoring by putting your foot in a washing-machine. Never. And washing-machines never appear on football pitches anyway. And what’s more, there’s nothing especially dangerous about putting your foot in one in any case. Unless the washing machine was actually on; but then you wouldn’t be able to put your foot in, because the door would be closed; and if you opened the door to get your foot in, the cycle would stop. The entire scenario is absurd.

But this is what I’d like to know. Was it just a strange piece of nonsense that Pochettino made up on the spur of the moment while being interviewed? Or is this a recognised expression in Argentina, where Pochettino comes from? Maybe in Buenos Aires it wouldn’t sound strange at all.

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4 Comments
  1. Mark Brafield permalink

    I see what you mean here Brandon, but actually I quite like the phrase. Compared to the rubbish that Mourinho is spouting at the moment (and I speak as a United season ticket holder), this is relatively sensible. Of course, it may be that as a non – native English speaker he has misunderstood the metaphor, which is rather endearing. I imagine he must have heard this somewhere; it does not sound like the sort of thing he would make up. Another possibility is that Pochettino is consciously poking fun at the long tradition of ridiculous football cliches by using a metaphor that is deliberately nonsense, although I accept that this may be pushing the interpretation.

    This reminds me of a couple of other ridiculous metaphors I have heard deployed for comic effect or to poke fun at pomposity. A friend of mine used to have a music teacher who threatened his pupils that if they didn’t behave he would ‘throw the piano at them’. Similarly, I used to work for a boss in the macho world of City corporate finance law. A critical deadline was approaching for completing a multi – million pound deal and still the documents hadn’t arrived for signature. He wondered out loud whether the courier had been ‘eaten by a lion coming along Fleet Street’. In the event, this turned out to be exactly the right thing to say to defuse the tension, everyone laughed and the meeting proceeded to a smooth completion.

    On another subject, I was actually hoping that Pochettino would come to United when Mourinho arrived (and I still have not given up hope), but that is, as I say, a discussion for another day.

  2. Simon Carter permalink

    Martin Keown described a player as “having feet like paintbrushes”. Presumably he meant something about artistry but the image seemed inappropriate for a footballer.

  3. Mark Brafield permalink

    I like it when the commentator says that a footballer has ‘two good feet’, which always strikes me as a useful attribute for someone being paid hundreds of thousands of pounds each week to kick a ball around.

  4. Simon Carter permalink

    Agreed. Similarly some players are said to have “a good football brain” which wouldn’t have many other applications; sometimes combined with “a good engine” wherever that may be located.
    Alan Partridge on The Day Today described a player as having a foot “like a traction engine”.

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