WHO? WHAT? WHERE? WHY IS ONE CALLED “WORLD CLASS”? by JA
Hey everyone, this transfer window being the usual… huh? Smoke and mirrors from the boss, what’s not to like?
So we’ve only signed a 33 year old Czech Republic goal keeper, shirt 33 who’s played 333 games in the premier league, and we’re going steady. People though believe we should sign another two top players to challenge for the league .I don’t know if that’s right or wrong but that’s their opinion.
My question(s) today is simple. Who is a world class player? I mean why is one player called world class and the other not? What does the world class player do differently from the one who isn’t? What does one have to do to be called world class? Well, the whole point of the article is to get your opinion on who a world class player is, but let’s start with my idea.
I’ve been a soccer fan for 10-12 years now, so despite not being the most experienced, I’ve seen my fair share of players come and go. The one thing I’ve seen though is that not every highly talented player is world class, or can be world class. I also have studied that a player just can’t be world class for the whole of his playing career by what he does on the pitch.
What makes a world class player? In the argument of potential, I see lots of people slate Arsenal players in the comments section with statements like: he doesn’t have the bare ingredients of a world-class player; he’s too injury prone to be world class; he’s just over rated. And I struggle to understand those arguments. What are those ingredients? In my view, to make it at any top flight club around Europe proves that a player is very talented and I doubt that this is just my view. Every other 18, 19, 20 year old you see break through at Arsenal, Sunderland, Hoffenheim, Lorient, Nantes, Ajax, Celtic or wherever in the top flight has talent because they’ve fought it out with hundreds of peers in the same position – who are probably working at a grocery store now or playing in a lower league side .
All that talent does, is sieve you. Who starts out at Barcelona? Who starts out at United? Who starts out at Chelsea? From there I believe its sheer dedication. Gilles Grimandi some time back (I think it was an interview with Arseblog news) mentioned that he had advised Wenger against signing Frank Ribery in the earlier days of his playing career because as much as the talent was there for all to see, he wasn’t the model professional. Grimandi mentioned things like; he didn’t stretch right, he didn’t take his warm ups seriously, had poor off field discipline and he thought his career wouldn’t go far. He, however, stated that he was happy for Ribery, and admitted the loss because since those early days, Ribery has tried his best to get better off the field and we’ve seen the results on the field. Cristiano Ronaldo is another great example. Anyone who was watching the game when this kid joined Man United will know he was talented from the go but he had to put end product to his game, and that meant hard work on the training ground. He had to practice body balance, shooting, freekicks. See, the thing with talent is it gives you a head start, but then, what you do after getting that head start determines where you will fall in the ranking. Cesc Fabregas, as well, was one of our very own. He came through our ranks and is considered a world class attacking midfielder but then everyone ignores something about his game. Since his days at Arsenal, this guy only plays for six months and turns completely useless for the other six. This is further confirmed by the statement Barcelona made as to why they released him, and his contribution to Chelsea last season.
So then I pose the question. If world class is not about talent, time, or where you play, then where does the tag come from? I believe real world class players are guys that have talent (potential to be world class), but depict it consistently and should cease to be referred to as world class players the moment the consistency goes. Neymar can dribble and do skills, so can Wellington Silva. What is the difference? Neymar puts more time in training, and can do something more after the skills, and do it every week.
Secondly, I believe the rest of the world class players are made in the media. This actually applies to most players that carry the tag. How is Paul Pogba world class and Ramsey not? I haven’t bothered to check the stats but I’ve watched both and they are in the same bracket. Many argue that the kids at Arsenal will never make it because they are not consistent. Well, it isn’t just the kids at Arsenal. It’s kids all over. Just the media hyping them and making them look bigger than they actually are. We all agree they are talented, but their talent lacks the consistency required to be called world class.
Finally, the other misleading trait in the ‘world class argument’ is excitement. More exciting players tend to be labeled world class much easier than the efficient ones. If one had to choose between Nani and Walcott a couple of years ago, they’d have said Nani was much better. I doubt the stats would support them. I’ll choose examples from my own country. Our most successful export in recent times is the recently retired Ibrahim Sekagya from New York Red Bulls. He happened to play in the Uganda national team with a more exciting David Obua who also played in Europe for Hearts. The latter being a winger, the former a center back/defensive mid. The winger was obviously very exciting yet the center back was the more accomplished of the two. Shifting to one still playing, Martin Kayongo Mutumba has since 2004 been one of the most exciting players to watch in the Swedish league till he recently left. Occasionally tagged the Swedish Ronaldinho, but what held him back was failure to see what’s important. He put Nemanja Vidic and Antonio Valencia on their asses with some deft dribbles, but there wasn’t much he could show for all the talent he has till he now ended up in the Iranian league .
As I started the article, I end it with the question. What? Who? Where? …is a world class player and why are they that?
Have yourselves a good day, greetings from Kampala