A controversial topic of conversation in the football world has once again reared its head over the past week or two, that of player tiredness.
The story is that a young Liverpool player (Raheem Sterling) spoke to his national team manager (Roy Hodgson) and said he was feeling too tired to start the game after having played 45 minutes in a separate game 3 days earlier. To be fair the conversation was a private one between a player and his manager, and it should never have been broadcast to the media as it has been, but the deed has been done so to speak. If nothing had been said by Hodgson, nobody would have been any wiser and there’d have been no further question or comment on the matter!
Of course, now that it’s out there, the world and his wife has an opinion on the subject, including me. Now I obviously don’t play competitive football, the closest I come to exercise is an hour on a 5-aside pitch some Wednesdays, so I don’t claim to know how the player is feeling or even that what he’s saying his rubbish, this is just my take on it from where I stand.
Sterling is a 19 year old, healthy (as far as we know), fit football player who trains for a few hours 5 days a week for his club, playing a 90 minute match once or twice a week depending on cup fixtures etc. He’s playing a sport he loves, one that millions of people love and would love to play. To me, that’s tiring stuff, I’d barely survive a training session let along a 90 minute top flight match. But that’s essentially all he does, and it’s that which has riled some of the “ordinary people” up.
You could compare it to the average person who works 60-80 hour weeks for minimal pay, who moan but still go to work every day to make sure they get their pay & are able to put food on their tables. That’s what the majority of responses have been from people on social media and even in print. But what has been forgotten is that there is another level in this that actually mix both aspects of the situation, the non league footballer.
The majority of guys that are playing out there today play football because they love the game, and enjoy the little bit of money that comes their way because of it. They train twice a week out in all weathers ready to play once, twice or even three times a week when the fixtures pile up! Of course, there’s also the fact that these guys work full time jobs as well, many Monday to Friday, some doing shifts including overnight, also taking into account they are supporting families, and yet they still manage to do it all without claiming tiredness and backing out of games/work.
You’ll never get full agreement on the subject, some top flight players have rallied behind Sterling saying what he did was brave, whilst others have condemned him, saying he shouldn’t have even dreamt of backing out of the starting line up. This will continue to divide opinions on and off the pitch for a long time to come. Of course it comes back to the only reason the subject has been brought up again, and that’s a manager breaking the trust of his player, which in my mind shouldn’t be happening. Even at international level you need a certain level of respect and trust between players and the manager/coach!
Anyway, I’ll leave you to make up your own minds, back to the football!