The Mystery of Matt Le Tissier

There was a player who starred in the Premier League during the 90’s and start of the 2000’s who regularly showed amazing skill, flair and was a menace to defenders.He regularly made defenders look daft as they tried desperately to stop him.  He would ping a shot into the top corner of the net from 20, 30 or even 40 yards with ease. Who was this player?  He sounds like one of those foreign imports who set the Premier League alight. Was it Gianfranco Zola?  Dennis Bergkamp? David Ginola?  Eric Cantona?  No, I’m referring to Englishman Matthew Le Tissier, Southampton’s number 7.

Le Tissier only played for Southampton in his career and his career was between 1986 and 2002 and scored 212 goals in 543 games. One particularly incredible statistic in Le Tissier’s is that in his career he took 39 penalties.  He missed only one and that was saved by Nottingham Forest’s Mark Crossley. 

Le Tissier only played eight times for England in his career and many people think that this he should have played many more times for his country. We can only imagine how an England team with Matt Le Tissier might have been.  One thing for certain is that he would have brightened up the dull England team of Graham Taylor’s era.  We would most likely have qualified for USA ’94 and with the Southampton man in full flow, we could have done very well in the competition.

Another mystery about Matt Le Tissier is why he didn’t move to a top club.  He definitely had the skill to play for one but always stayed loyal to Southampton. Rumour was that he wouldn’t leave Southampton as he could go to his homeland Guernsey from the nearby airport.

Arsenal were renowned for being boring under George Graham.  Often the ball was hit long by goalkeeper David Seaman or the defenders, completely bypassing midfield and going up to the strikers.  When Anders Limpar complained to Graham that he was feeling under-used in midfield, he was shipped off to Everton as punishment!
With Matt Le Tissier playing in an attacking midfield role, he could have brightened up the distinctly average midfield.  That said, if Arsenal had Matt Le Tissier in their team then they might not have gone for Dennis Bergkamp in the summer of 1995!

Regardless of how many times he played for England or whether he played for a top club or not, one thing is for certain.  The man was one of England’s most skillful and talented players and all of us who were lucky enough to see him play were treated to a superstar.

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