Anyone can say the right things in interviews; it takes someone special to say those words and have so many find comfort in them. Brendan Rodgers has yet to say anything at all, in any interview that I didn’t whole heartedly believe.
I am not going to try and compare the great Bill Shankly with anyone as in my opinion this man was ‘one of a kind’. I do not believe that Brendan Rodgers can be Bill Shankly but I believe he will do extremely well at being Brendan Rodgers. One thing I find extremely frustrating is how every manager and player is named as the next ‘insert legends name’. Shelvey is the next Gerrard, Adam Morgan is the next ‘Robbie Fowler’, and the only problem is that they aren’t. I appreciate that people like to make comparisons; I just wish that people would allow players to develop and turn in to themselves and not trying to directly compare them to other players, usually legends. It must be a pretty daunting experience for a seventeen year old reserve player to be reading quotes comparing him to captain fantastic, how on earth are they supposed to live up to that? As many of you will know, I have spent many years coaching football in several countries and I have stumbled across the secret to a players development; it’s really rather simple – Confidence. A confident player can raise their game by around 20% which then breeds further confidence. This doesn’t just apply to youth players. Prime example, RVP last season was bursting with confidence and looked world class, Torres on the other hand for the most part, is playing with very little confidence- and it showed!
I honestly believe that Brendan is the sort of manager who will breed confidence. Listening to interviews by previous players he has managed, the most recent being Borini, our latest signing, Brendans players have fun and love playing for him. It is also important to praise your players publicly and let it be known that they are important to you. By recalling the likes of Joe Cole and Alberto Aquilani very early in the summer, the manager was saying “it’s time for you to come home! I want you here!”. Any player worth his salt will respond positively to that sort of behaviour. The manager has also included the likes of Suso and Raheem Sterling in his pre-season plans (once prior commitments are completed) again, this is a fantastic gesture to instil confidence. I was pleased to see Suso mention on twitter than he had been included, the lad was obviously chuffed and so he should be. The manager has also shown his class and management skills in handling the older players, some of whom are approaching difficult stages of their careers. Brendan has talked about how Jamie Carragher is a very important player to have around the team, talking about his knowledge, how impressive he was as a pundit at the euros (for those outside Liverpool who managed to understand him) and about how Jamie will be a great coach. These words were very cleverly arranged. He did not say “Jamie should concentrate on coaching as his playing time will be limited”, nor did he say “Jamie has years of game time left!”. What he did was ensure that Jamie felt valued and important, despite that fact, as most would expect, his playing time will in fact be limited. Jamie has been a model professional and if there is one thing I would hope for, it’s that he is able to transfer his passion, drive and love of the club to the younger players. We may not all dream of a team of Carraghers goal scoring ability but we certain dream of a team with his desire and heart.
Even in times of sadness, the club are remaining positive. Maxi has now left the club which was a sad occasion, as was saying goodbye to Dirk Kuyt; I would like to personally thank them for all they have given to Liverpool Football Club, it has been a real privilege to watch them. The club website posted an open letter from Maxi. Those of you familiar with the official website will know that the main news box at the top of the page has five stories rolling across it. Very quickly yesterday evening, It had one about Maxi and four about a new signing. This might be a coincidence but I remember feeling it was very clever. Almost in a similar method to those cheesy management skills classes some of you might have been ‘encouraged’ to do in your jobs. “Sh*t Sandwich” – if you want to say something sad or critical, ensure there is a positive or compliment either side of it. I don’t feel that this was accidental by the club, they are working very hard at creating a confident and positive environment for both players, fans and the back offices.
Confidence is incredibly important for anyone but especially for a football club. We may have found ourselves in difficult periods in previous years but I honestly feel confident about the future. I am not saying we will win the league next season, but what I am confident of is that whatever we achieve, it will have been done so ‘the Liverpool way’.
Cheers for reading and my apologise for the lack of articles over recent months. Feel free to follow on twitter @philteddylfc
Have a good summer reds