We’re currently in a time where the players at Arsenal Football Club have the entire world at their feet. If you somehow make it through the stringent requirements to move up from the Reserve squad to the First-team – a contract will follow that could set you up for life.
Imagine playing at a club that has no financial restrictions, in a premier stadium with training facilities to match, there are only a half-dozen more footballing institutions in the world that would be a step-up.
Play well, and you’ll earn personal accolades, contract bonuses, world-wide attention and possibly even some prize-money at the end of the season.
So why doesn’t the Arsenal squad? Why is there such a lack of motivation from the entire squad to push themselves and sit with the best teams? If the author were ever in such a situation, and my 10 other teammates were playing in such a way that would deny me such things – I would insert my boot into my colleague’s back-end orifice.
The silence is deafening. Silence on the pitch, silence in the press and silence on social media. No-where do you see players dragging each other into position, nor do you even see reactions from the bench. No-one stepping forward to stand on the side-lines and bark encouragement. I’m not asking for Ronaldo-at-the-Euro’s level of pitch-side management, but there has to be desire somewhere in a 25-man squad?
There are World-Cup winners in Mustafi, Ozil and Mertesacker, you have Chile’s 2nd all-time top goalscorer Alexis Sanchez who’s on-pitch energy can only do so much alone. There are 12 players in Arsenal’s current squad that have played for the Gunners more than 100 times. Why, do those twelve, after combined appearances of more than 2,000 games for Arsenal alone – not want more from their careers?
Aaron Ramsey, who has had to come back from such an atrocious injury as he has, why does he not appreciate how short a career can be and work on his short-comings? Theo Walcott, who has taken to the age of 28 to realise himself, his best position is on the wing – why did he not realise this sooner?
I fear it’s for the very reasons that were detailed at the top of this page. Why push yourself when you’re a millionaire, working in some of the best conditions in the footballing world playing for a manager who simply wants his teams to go out on the pitch and ‘express themselves’?
Ahead of the manager’s possible departure at the end of the season, if that were to happen – with just how engrained Arsene Wenger is into the heart of Arsenal FC – it would be a huge shock for the players to see him leave. Gone would be their safety net, especially if a manager comes in with a modern on-pitch work-ethic.
You just wonder though, if it takes a career-changing event to happen for these players to wake up and roll up their sleeves, are they the personalities that can win the league?