2 Sept 2016

Next Sterling? Boss raves over 'unbelievable' Liverpool starlet and hints at 'first-team' promotion

After suffering a pre-season injury, Liverpool starlet Ovie Ejaria is back in action, and according to U23 boss Michael Beale, the youngster is ready to break into the first team.

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo today, Beale hailed Ejaria's 'unbelievable technical ability', and further enthused:

"This summer he [Ejaria] opened everyone’s eyes to his potential. He always had talent but now we’re seeing tackles and real aggression in his game. Let’s see how much work we can do to get him into our first team.”

Whilst it'll be good to see Ejaria get some Prem action, I find it concerning that Beale appears to suggest that 'tackles' and 'aggression' are the keys him making it into the first team.

This is typical anachronistic, outdated British coaching rhetoric, the gist of which is: 'He's got skill, but he needs to tackle more!'. I despise this way of thinking, and it's coaching like this that (IMO) subjugates creativity and stunts natural creative instincts.

I'd prefer to hear a coach say: 'He's always had talent, but now we're seeing real creativity, and the ability to unlock defences with skill and guile'. These things should be prioritised, not the typical huff-and-puff traits associated with British football. Reds legend Xabi Alonso said it best back in 2011, when he told The Guardian:

"I don't think tackling is a quality. At Liverpool I used to read the matchday programme and you'd read an interview with a lad from the youth team. They'd ask: age, heroes, strong points, etc. He'd reply: 'Shooting and tackling'. I can't get into my head that football development would educate tackling as a quality, something to learn, to teach, a characteristic of your play. How can that be a way of seeing the game? I just don't understand football in those terms. Tackling is a last resort, but it isn't a quality to aspire to. It's so rooted in English football culture, but I don't understand it."

Amen. Unfortunately, it's clear that this retrograde coaching approach is alive and well at Liverpool.


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