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Monday, 22 May 2017

Has N'Koudou shown Pochettino enough in training to stay?

What is the future of Georges-Kevin N'Koudou at Tottenham under Mauricio Pochettino?

Vincent Janssen looked dead and buried as a Spurs player but has changed his mentality on the training pitch and now looks set to stay. Mousa Dembele was put on the bench for a season and had to change his mentality.

To play for Pochettino is very simple, you have to totally buy into his method of very hard work, meticulous training as to where to be on the pitch, how to move off the ball, how to block passing channels, how to press and learn what every other player is doing as well. In short you need to have an intelligent footballing brain and an ability to take direction in.

If a player wants to be the best he can be then he has to put everything into training every day, not just go through the motions putting in 90% to maintain a level. That isn't the mentality of a winning team, thus it isn't a component you want in your squad.

As a coach you set a standard and everyone MUST abide by that standard. My school represented Kent in the nationals and during practice nights or lunchtime class tournaments I always maintained I don't care about an individuals ability, just give me players who will work hard. As a sweeper and someone who stayed at the back who could read a game, I gave direction and with a responsive team we were able to consistently beat teams with more skillful players.

If you have a player who is skilled and works hard then you have a player who can go a long way. The same principle applies in professional sport. It is the dedication and graft off the field that allows on the field performances like we see from Harry Kane, Dele Alli or Harry Winks this season.

A coach can see if you are giving it 100% every day to improve themselves, you have to show him you can be trusted. All players DO NOT put in that basic requirement of 100%. Georges-Kevin N'Koudou was open and honest about it in the same way Mousa Dembele was after Pochettino's first season.

Winners do not make excuses, they take responsibility so the quotes in L'Equipe from N'Koudou were refreshing and endorsed that.

 “I was the problem. Of course it was difficult not to play, especially for someone like me who loves football, but there comes a time when you need to stop making excuses. I spoke about it with my family. I learnt what I was missing. I wasn’t strong enough mentally. 
“I was nearly like a child, in a cocoon. I had it easy. I found a lot of answers here, especially thanks to Moussa Dembélé, who told me: “You have the talent, you have everything, but you need to work hard here”. When I dribble past someone, he didn’t cheer, but when I pressed hard, he would tell me “That’s it, that’s good!”
“And when the best player you’ve played with, a guy who has everything, both feet, the physicality, the technique, tells you that, you listen. After that, a lot of people helped me: Rose, Walker, Kane and others. And my two big brothers Moussa Sissoko and Hugo Lloris.
“I want to impose myself, yes. I know I can.”

How much has he improved his mentality towards training? Only Pochettino can tell us that one and I guess we'll see in the summer if he believes the talent N'Koudou has will come out next season.

There is always someone else, so you either have the right mentality to strive to improve and work at 100% or you are replaced with someone else who wants it more than you do. Success or failure on a personal level is totally down to the individual, nobody else is to blame.

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