Football fans are only just realising why it’s called a ‘nutmeg’

SKILL SCHOOL IT’S one of the finest sights in football.

A player cheekily popping the ball through the legs of an opponent, commonly known as a ‘nutmeg’.

Trent Alexander-Arnold nutmegged Oleksandr Zinchenko in the build up to Liverpool’s second goal against Arsenal on Sunday
The nutmeg is one of football’s cheekiest tricks

Liverpool ace Trent Alexander-Arnold showed off the skill on Sunday, delightfully slipping the ball through Arsenal star Oleksandr Zinchenko’s legs to set up Roberto Firmino’s late equaliser.

Zinchenko was then seen looking gutted on the bench following the goal.

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After all, being on the wrong end of the move often leaves defenders red-faced.

The likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar are all masters of the skill.

And the latter was given a taste of his own medicine last year when he was nutmegged by football freestyler Jack Downer.

But despite the term nutmeg being widely used from the professional game down to grassroots level, fans are now realising where it originates from.

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According to the book ‘Football Talk- The Language and Folklore Of The World’s Greatest Game’, via the Mirror, the term nutmeg dates way back to the late 1800s.

It originates from tricks of the trade used in the exportation of nutmeg between North America and England in the 19th century.

Author of the 2004 book, Peter Seddon, wrote: “Nutmegs were such a valuable commodity that unscrupulous exporters were to pull a fast one by mixing a helping of wooden replicas into the sacks being shipped to England.”

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Seddon also wrote: “Being nutmegged soon came to imply stupidity on the part of the duped victim and cleverness on the part of the trickster.”

And Seddon points out that the verb nutmegged is listed by the Oxford English Dictionary as “arising in the 1870s which in Victorian slang came to mean ‘to be tricked or deceived, especially in a manner which makes the victim look foolish’.”

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