While you’d struggle to notice anything untoward from the front, it quickly emerged that Danny Rose had undertaken some extreme customisation of his socks before England’s World Cup third/fourth-place play-off against Belgium.
As the camera panned round back for the first time, it quickly became apparent that Roses’ socks were positively shot through with holes.
Watching on agog at home, many fans were left baffled by the ragged garments, with some speculating it was an amateur attempt at ventilation and/or aerodynamics, and some questioning whether those infuriating midges from Volgograd had somehow infested the England kit bag.
As per usual, the truth lies somewhere in the middle, with the sock-shredding phenomenon having previously been identified and explained by Spanish newspaper AS after they noticed Gareth Bale taking to the pitch wearing similarly knackered stockings.
After seeking the opinion of medical opinions, AS concluded that cutting holes in socks is supposed to alleviate pressure on the players’ calf muscles.
Of course, the actual physical effect is more than likely negligible, with the psychological benefits (“mental confidence”) being much more profound.
In short, it’s all in their minds, but they’re not hurting anybody – so leave them to it.