Bastian Schweinsteiger wears the #31, Mario Balotelli consistently picks #45 no matter what club he's at, and Stephan El Shaarawy is dedicated to the #92, repping the year of his birth. Purists might hate such non-traditional kit numbers, but they're becoming more and more common as single digit options increasingly get associated with club legends from days past.
Selecting the proper kit number is a no small task for a new player, as he'll want to strike the right balance between satisfying superstition and remaining true to his own numerical preferences. Of Liverpool's first batch of signings, Danny Ings is the only one to have selected a kit number, and his choice of the ol' #28 raised a few eyebrows.
"I stayed away from the low numbers," Ings explained of his unconventional choice. "You have got to take that pressure off yourself as a young lad coming through. That is what I personally think. I would make sure I am established before taking any of those [single digit] numbers. It is such a huge club. That was the thinking behind it.
"I wouldn't want to go to Liverpool and chuck a shirt on my back like that, it is pressure you don't need. The expectation at clubs like that is huge. Obviously I am going to work my socks off to earn that number one day. For now I will take a high number and work hard."
There are lots of numbers under ten available at the club at the moment, and some of the more knee-jerk amongst us have decried Ings' lack of ambition in not wanting to take on the pressure of wearing, say, the fabled #7. #28 doesn't seem like anything to write home about — Christian Poulsen is the most recent to have worn the number — but it's not a number without any sentimentality behind it.
Dedicated trivia lovers will remember that it is, of course, the number Steven Gerrard wore when he first broke into the senior team, before he switched to the more familiar #17 and later the iconic #8. As far as youngsters looking to prove themselves go, emulating the captain's own number choosing path provides a lovely bit of nostalgia for anyone who might like to derive meaning from such things.
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