Footballers crave for individuality. Throughout the years players across the game have found ways of making a uniform unique, utilising various on-pitch trends with regards to their kits to make them stand out. These Iconic on-pitch trends often have the ability to define an era, offering creative players a way to showcase their often flamboyant personalities. Created by icons, replicated by the masses on grassroots pitches worldwide, here we pick out 15 of the most recognisable looks.

Changing rooms trends are forever changing, and no matter if your boots are hung up forever or cleaned up for next week you'll have a few in your mind that were instigated by professionals in the game at the time. From your school team mate with the Henry socks, to wearing an entire roll of tape and thinking you're Fernando Torres. We've all been there...

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Popped Collar

Wearing your collar up was the calling card of a footballing don, the 90s equivalent of wearing gold boots, and a trend that blurred the lines of confidence and arrogance as a statement of superiority. Of course, with all on-pitch fashion trends there were a series of rules with the popped collar: Firstly, you had to play upfront or in midfield. Secondly, you needed a strong number, ideally 7, 9 or 10, and finally you needed that no-shits-given maverick attitude and undisputed belief that you were the best player on any pitch. 

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Low Socks

A trend that was typical of throwback footballers such as Steve Claridge, the low socks look is now enjoying a comeback thanks to Jack Grealish, after a mini revival led by Arsenal's Alexander Hleb. A lazy look that has to be paired with kid's shin-pads and calves so big that socks restrict the blood flow (Grealish) or calves so small they can't hold the socks up (Claridge).

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Socks Over Knees

Pulling your socks over your knees for suddenly became the only way to wear them after Thierry Henry started rinsing Premier League defences. It took a slight dip in terms of appeal when John Terry picked up the baton, but has regained some status since Neymar adopted the look. You've all played in a team with a winger who proper rated himself with this look. He's normally the player who combines 90% of this list before moaning all game about a lack of service. If you don't know him, it's you.

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Baggy Shirts

90s shirt design adopted a one-shirt-fits-all policy that was in line with general fashions of the time. Fine if you were a big lad, not so fine if you were Juninho. Imagine how much more rapid the diminutive Brazilian would've been if he hadn't spent the best part of his career running into gale force Teeside winter winds wearing a parachute.

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Vics On The Chest

To the uninitiated, Vapo-rub on the chest has to be one of the weirdest looks on this list. Looking like something between an isolated patch of sweat or a glob of snot from where the player has just blown his nose, this one was ironically all about being able to breathe better through the match. A signature look for Patrick Vieira throughout his playing career it's something that's still seen in today's game. Any Sunday League player throughout the 00s had a kit stained by someone replicating Vieira's look without really knowing what for.

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Nasal strips

A signature look for one person only, the nasal strip, much like the vapo-rub on the chest, was supposed to help players breathe easier. The nasal strip Robbie Fowler made famous during his time at Liverpool pulled the nostrils apart, improving nasal air flow by 31%, according to the manufacturer. The lying bastards. Anyone with a Fowler shirt as a kid stuck a plaster on his nose at some point.

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Long Sleeves

Bring them back. Bring them back, right now.


Baselayer Top Under Short Sleeves

This was what put the final nail in the coffin of the long-sleeved shirt. Can also throw in turtle neck Under Armour; that was a big on pitch trend in the mid 00s, leading to the rise of baselayers in football and confirming Under Armour's arrival into European football.

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That Short Sleeves x Gloves Combo

It's never too cold for gloves but too hot for sleeves. Think about anyone you've ever played with who has worn this combo and realise that you never liked any of them. Ball-hogging wingers with too much tape, too much to say, and not enough to back it up with. If you're South American or African you are excused. If you're from Rotherham, you're embarrassing. 

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While it took several years and much ridicule for performance tights to be accepted, they are now a common sight on training pitches throughout the world, particularly in colder climates. But certain players have also adopted them amongst their on-pitch attire. Takes a very particular type of player to opt for this look though, usually playing in an attacking role. Never see an honest defender in a pair. Tights are good for keeping warm, but even better for triggering Roy Keane into a fit of uncontrollable rage. 

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Nah, can't wear them any more. Although Carlos Tevez can take credit for bringing the trend to the UK, he can also take credit for being involved in one of the greatest football photographs of all time. Sure, we could have selected a photo of him better showing off the snood. But where's the fun in that? You wanted to seeing him fisting Rio Ferdinand.

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See David Beckham, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos, Fernando Torres, Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, Radamel Falco, Francesco Totti, Alessandro Del Piero, Edison Cavani, Jack Grealish... the list is endless. That winger for your sunday team we keep going on about? The one with pink boots, short sleeves, gloves, a snood, tights, socks over his knees and a nasal strip? He's got short hair, but he stills wears a hairband.

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Allan Saint-Maximin wearing Gucci and Balmain branded headbands in the Premier League is very 2020. If your centre half can wear a bloodied head bandage then your winger can wear a designer one.

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The Tongue

Ah mate, don't get us started. Whether you had it strapped tightly to your boot, pulled it as far down as possible, or just left it flapping all determined what type of a player you were. Throw in some wrap around laces and you're in our team every day the week.

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White Socks and an Entire Roll of Tape

A trend that was recreated on grassroots pitches across the land, as players rummaged out their old white socks from the bottom of the draw and pulled them over their football socks. Perfectly complemented by a pair of T90s, the aforementioned hairband, and an untucked shirt. Look of a generation right there. God bless you Fernando.

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Quickly fastening on to the white-socks look, TruSox suddenly gave the look purpose with the release of a product that prevented the foot from slipping inside the boot. Cleverly branded with dots all over to cause hype and dodge any league restrictions on branding. Genius.

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