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Friday, 4 January 2019

Skipp and Sterling, the pressure, the mentality, who has it?


Skipp and Sterling, the pressure, the mentality, who has it?

Oliver-Skipp

When Emmanuel Adebayor was at Tottenham I suggested he and others could learn from the mentality of Harry Kane who holds the record for most Premier League Player of the Month awards (six; shared with Steven Gerrard).

Kane made his first Premier League start on 27 April 2014 against Sunderland and scored his first EPL goal in the 59th minute. He turned 21 in July that year. The following season (2014/15) he picked up the PFA Young Player of the Year Award.


I could go on but the rest is history as the saying goes.

Talent alone was not good enough. Harry has had to work hard at his game, but more than that he has had to have the mentality to do so.

I talked previously about a winning attitude when referring to Kane and Adebayor and took that attitude into the pub and a game of pool. I have a winning attitude myself, I absolutely hated losing. Playing pool in a pub, I'd play to win and the only decent games were against others who wanted to win.

That is a winning mentality, not playing for fun but putting everything into winning. The fun in any sport was winning. Win and you could enjoy it, lose and you haven't. Yes, you may be boosted by a personal performance in a team game, but if you have lost it merely shows you are on form. It counts for nothing but your ego.

Lee Dixon was asked during commentary for NBC last night whether in these big games he enjoyed it. His reply was that if truth be told no player enjoyed any game as they were concentrating too much on performing.

These games were not game they looked forward too, but looked forward to being over. He too said you can only enjoy it after you have won.

Any player you see laughing and joking after his side has lost DOES NOT have a winning mentality. It goes beyond winning, it drives you to improve your game in training and in Harry Kane's case to employ his own chef to improve his nutrition and fitness.

Josh Onomah and Marcus Edwards simply don't have that approach, they have talent and think that is enough, it isn't.

I see on Twitter people calling for youth to play for 16-year-old (17 in February) Troy Parrott or 20-year-old (21 in November) Kazaiah Sterling to be played.

It is easier to blood as a central or defensive midfielder than it is as a striker, while there is pressure, there is arguably less pressure.

Nabil Bentaleb, Harry Winks, Oliver Skipp could shield, spray the ball from one side to the other, play short passes to a more experienced teammate, they can ease into Premier League life.

As a striker, the result of the match hinges on whether you can put the ball into the net, whether at a young age you have the composure to do that on a big stage in front of big noisy crowds. There isn't really any time to learn.

Harry Kane (now MBE) scored in his first three Premier League starts, he hit the ground running. A central midfielder can look good without creating or stopping a goal, a striker lives or dies by whether he puts the ball in the net or not.

The role of an academy is to produce professional footballers. Naturally, you will pick the cream of the crop and keep them yourselves if you can, but that is really a by-product of producing professional footballers.

The question we don't know yet is does Sterling have the mentality of Kane or Onomah?

Onomah went through the motions in his last season with us, he wasn't making an impact, he wasn't making himself the best he can be, while Kane was and is.

Kane has made it, but he hasn't made it because he still believes there is improvement to come and thus works to find it.

Does Sterling have that make-up?

Without it you will not reach the very top and the youth players Mauricio Pochettino seeks are those with Kane's winning mentality, both on and off the pitch.

COYS


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