Criticism of players although deserved at times, SHOULD be worded better!
With mental health so apparent right now and with players not knowing when their end in football will come, should we be more careful of the way we word our criticism?
Players go out every week and sometimes give their all, yet there are times when they don’t, and this is where frustration and criticism come to the forefront for fans.
So as hard as it may be to watch as an Arsenal fan and see players underperforming when we know they can do better, and sometimes as much as they deserve it, there are ways around criticism that can make it seem less harsh and attacking.
We know that footballers and their playing career do not last forever. Once a player hits 30 they’ve got at the most three or four years more, depending on the player and their health of course, before they have to retire, or choose to retire as their body cannot handle it anymore.
And there’s a big difference of football being taken away from players because they have come to the end of their career where their body cannot handle it anymore, and football being taken away from them because they have suffered a career ending injury at a young age or early stage in their career.
This is the most awful and heart-breaking thing that can ever happen to a player, and I’m speaking from experience of someone who used to play football and had to give it up, not through choice but due to getting a serious injury.
So put yourself in their shoes and imagine you’re a professional footballer, you work so hard from a very young age, your forced to move away from your family and have made many sacrifices to gt to where you are today, then one day you have a game and get seriously injured. It’s one that you can’t come back from but if you do, you’ll never be the same again. You then come to the realisation that you must give up your passion in life and all your hard work that you have given everything to achieve, because you’re injured and can no longer play.
For some people that’s a heartbreak in itself and is the end of life as they know it. For some people this messes them up physically and mentally and stays with them forever, and criticism does the same.
It is easy for us to write articles on players’ performances and analyse from afar, but they never fully know when their last game will be. And believe me as an ex-footballer, nobody is as critical on a performance, as a footballer is of themselves.
So what I’m trying to say is, sudden injuries just goes to show that playing careers are unpredictable and do not last forever. Sometimes the harsh criticism of players, although at times and in some cases for some is deserved, can affect them mentally, more than we may think and maybe we should be less attacking and more productive, with positive criticism of things they can try and improve on and do slightly better, rather than trying to bombard them with negatives each time they have a poor performance.
I have been guilty of criticising many players but I welcome criticism myself. Constructive criticism is acceptable if it is not rude or overstepping the mark. But when it oversteps, that’s when people should stop and think!
One minute as a footballer you think you’ve got your whole life ahead of you in your playing career and that you have many years to come, and the next minute you could be lying in the treatment room with an injury that has left you seriously injured and potentially out for a very long time or even forever.
As we have seen over the years, many Arsenal players have unfortunately had long-term injuries but luckily for them they have come back. This can be down to many things: the mental health of a player themselves, the success of an operation and the amazing physio, rehab and recovery teams around them.
However, some players are not so lucky to have the most modern technology and help available. And some, as per myself, suffer career ending injuries that no matter what you do you just cannot come back from.
One player that comes to mind for me with regards to injuries is Eduardo Da Silva, who suffered an unfortunate leg break in 2008 against Birmingham, and upon return for me, was never the same again, and I am sure he had his fair share of criticism which would have impacted him mentally too.
So, think about it the next time you’re sitting at a game and criticising a player for not running fast enough, not scoring or at fault for conceding, because you never know what is going on mentally with them and you never know from one minute to the next what is going to happen and when or how their career will end.
As with anything in life, football is unpredictable and although it can be argued that footballers have chosen their career, nobody can be prepared for a potentially life changing injury as these things are not planned, so let’s not be as harsh or critical on players, at least not in the bitter or angrily attacking way.
Footballers are only human at the end of the day and nobody deserves to have a career ending injury no matter who they play for!