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Can Usain Bolt be a successful footballer?

POTENTIAL: Usain Bolt

USAIN BOLT could make the grade in professional football according to former Spain national coach Vincent Del Bosque.

World Cup winner Del Bosque believes that if the Jamaican sprint king hones his technical ability then he could become a talented full-back.

Bolt, currently in France for a week promoting a new Champagne, is on trial with A-League strugglers Central Coast Mariners in Australia and plays at left-back.

Despite the hype Down Under the 32-year-old has made just one pre-season appearance, which was a cameo role as substitute for 18 minutes against an amateur outfit that the Mariners were brushing aside.

Bolt, an eight-time Olympic champion, is determined to compete at the elite level football but failed to impress in trials with top-tier clubs in Germany, Norway and South Africa. And the Jamaica national team, seemingly settled under head coach Theodore Whitmore, are not showing any interest.

The result for Bolt has been an infinite trial with Mariners, who are based just under 50 miles from Sydney. Yet the side finished rock bottom of the 10-team A-League last term, and are not expected to be challenging for honours when the new season kicks off next month.

However, Del Bosque spoke openly about whether Bolt can cut the mustard as a footballer.

The ex-Real Madrid coach admitted: "To start playing professional football at the age of 32 isn't normal.

"Control, passing, dribbling, a good touch on the ball are skills that you normally have had since childhood.

"Without a doubt as a full-back, with his back towards the crowd and the touchline, is where he would be most useful.

"It's difficult because, despite being in peak physical condition, the technical part is the fundamental part of football.

"A player's fantastic conditioning - being fast, agile, powerful - should support the technical ability.

"He'll probably learn the tactical side and get to understand the game better, both defensively and offensively. But the most difficult part will be to acquire the technical skills.

"He could be a full-back that covers a lot of space. But it depends, because it's not just about covering 100 metres of the pitch - but with space, he could be a very good footballer."

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