Johnny Cantor: Long live the lefty – Albion have prized assets in Bong and Suttner

Gaetan Bong. Picture by PW Sporting Pics
Gaetan Bong. Picture by PW Sporting Pics

One piece of research suggests that 11 per cent of the world is left-handed. Now I know it is an assumption and may not be totally exact, but let’s assume a similar number are left-footed.

When I was younger I always wanted to be left-handed, partly due to the graceful England batsman David Gower and partly because everyone told me left-handed people were more creative.

When I was a lad, the lack of left-footed players meant that often those last to be picked in the line-up by the captain were put at left-back.

However, one thing you learn is that football is a team game and that the selfish striker or powerful centre-back can’t do it all on their own.

Sadly, the days of the true left outside half have diminished with a trend towards inverted wingers.

Of course, there are stories of left-backs evolving like Gareth Bale who moved further up the pitch at Spurs, but as players get older they usually tend to move backwards!

Specialist positions such as a goalkeeper and a quality left-back remain prized assets. Over recent years, Brighton and Hove Albion have had some experience in the position, with soon-to-retire Wayne Bridge and loanees such as Joe Bennett, but have also had to use makeshift left-backs such as Bruno slotting in there from the right.

This week Gaetan Bong was quite rightly rewarded with a contract extension until 2019. The former Wigan defender has proved his reliability and consistency in the Premier League.

I have to feel for Markus Suttner who has come into the side as a more attacking option in that position, but both have done a great job for Chris Hughton in the Premier League.

There are very few players out of contract at the end of this season and two of them are goalkeepers.

The progress of Christian Walton on loan at Wigan ensures cover with the gloves, but the club have systematically consolidated and improved in all areas, including that tricky position that Bong and Suttner have excelled in.

I think I have got over my disappointment in my youth of not being a southpaw but ‘long live the lefty’.