Arsene Wenger has long been accused of overprotecting his players who in return increasingly fail to repair the favour. The latest example came last weekend at Watford when Aaron Ramsey and Alexis Sanchez were effectively given a day off due to their respective failures to qualify for the World Cup.
Sanchez is often left on the bench when returning from international duty due to travelling half way around the world but to be left out of the squad altogether is unprecedented. Our manager would argue he is the one who sees the players in training every day and if he felt they were mentally not 100 percent what use would have they been at Vicarage Road? You could question should two professional athletes not be stronger in the mind but is this not more of a reflection about the culture of the club?
The Chilean and the Welshmen are just two of hundreds individuals who have to face up to the reality that they won’t be going to Russia next summer. The majority didn’t think twice about it being an excuse to have a weekend off as their clubs make it clear that won’t be tolerated. Do you think a Jose Mourinho or Sir Alex Ferguson would dare put their own needs last at the cost of losing?
I’ll never agree with how the latest Man United boss goes about getting his results but the Portuguese is ruthless. He sees every single point as vital in the title race. He would have seen playing a weakened team voluntarily as the difference between being champions or not, especially if he knew that fellow rivals had slipped up (which they had).
He certainly wouldn’t be doing favours to man who at the first opportunity will be out of the exit door. In fact he would be ruthless towards Sanchez. He would view him purely as an asset, an asset to drain every ounce out of till January at the minimum. Wenger might be considered a better man manager for ‘looking after’ the South American but do you think Sanchez will be thinking of the Frenchmen’s needs the next time he sits down with his agent?
At least though you can understand why Sanchez wouldn’t be committed. It’s been clear since pre-season the idea of forcing him to run down his contract was a mistake. Having arrived back from Brazil late Thursday why would he be rushing back to play for a club he’s told countless times he wants away from. If his employer wants to be silly enough to give him a week off, why wouldn’t he, further avoiding injury before his big move in the New Year.
But what’s Ramsey’s excuse?
We hear all the time how there is a special spirit around the training group, a desire among the squad to add to the FA Cups they have won? Ramsey himself is one of the first to tweet after a defeat about a drive to put things right.
To succeed in any sport you have to go that extra mile, work harder then those you are competing with. Some times that means playing through pain, staying an extra half an hour and yes rolling up your sleeves even when ‘your head is not in it ‘.
It shows how the game has evolved. What would a Tony Adams, Keown, Viera or Henry say to a team mate if they informed them they were not going to be free on Saturday due to feeling sad about a previous football result? What’s worse, the fact that no one demanded Ramsey play or that Ramsey himself didn’t love the club enough to have insisted he didn’t need a rest.
Did a Roy Keane win silverware based on being a technically great player or was it by having heart and courage? I understand patriotism. I get that missing a tournament for your country is a disappointment and not one you get to fix for another couple of years. But compare it to the ‘bad day’ that most people have.
Men and women who have money trouble, problems in relationships, stresses in family. Guess What? Their bosses still expect them to come in to work the next day and the truth is your every day person wouldn’t even ask for a day off..