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Key to Great Players is moving forward!

Moving Forward

There are bad, average, good and great players and if anyone had forgotten that Lionel Messi was firmly within the brickwork of footballing greatness then his 5 goals against Bayer Leverkusen must have come as a stark reminder.

Without doubt Messi is one of the, if not the, best players of all time and is rightly ranked amongst Diego Maradona, Pele and Zinedine Zidane.

His ability is obvious and it would be difficult to pick a weakness in his game, however what sets him apart from the rest?

More significantly, what makes a player great?

Well, having the ability to produce significant moments which have an effect on the outcome of a match is a key trait to great players.

They must also possess more strengths than weaknesses and to be considered a real great player they have to show their class on a consistent basis.

There is however, a basic aspect of their play which is often overlooked.

Many believe that a combination of all the traditional physical and technical attributes are essential in a top player but what helps them become fundamentally great is their natural instinct to play forward at all times.

Players may run or pass into trouble and eventually lose the ball, but one who is able to consistently advance up the park will more often than not have a greater effect on a match than a player who plays side to side or backwards.

The legendary Zinedine Zidane highlighted Messi’s insistence to look forward at every opportunity as a key part of what makes him so good.

Whether Messi takes the ball from deep or is running on to a through ball his first touch always goes forward and that allows him to accelerate, dip and weave his way past defenders with much more ease.

Momentum has much to do with the Argentine’s play and the pace in which he is able to terrorise defences make him such a huge threat.

Zidane, Maradona, Cruyff and now Xavi all demonstrate the ability to play forward, immediately pressurising opposition defences.

It is understandable that players like Xavi Alonso, Sergio Busquets and Andrea Pirlo are needed to link defence to attack so understandably, much of their passing is done from side to side or backwards.

Their approach has a different purpose and they are immense in their own way but a sign of the true great players is their positive attacking attitude.

If you look at every single goal Messi scored against Leverkusen, he moves forward with his first touch and continues forward before reaching the goal.

This is what makes him and so many other players great.

An individual can be blessed with fierce shooting, pacey dribbling and assured passing but if they don’t demonstrate a hunger and drive to attack the goal, these attributes become redundant.

Patience is a key part of football but there is no substitute for heading straight to goal.

Messi has shown that to be great you have to move forward. Only then can a player show the true extent of his greatness.

Give me a follow on twitter to get involved in some more football chat – @beanroll. Thanks for reading!

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International Rationale

Wrong?

Following Fabio Capello’s resignation on Wednesday as England manager, the predictable questions sprang to mind: Who would succeed the Italian and what effect would this have on England’s Euro 2012 campaign?

In answering the first question, it seems that the majority would prefer Harry Redknapp as his successor. The fact there has been a longing for an Englishman to be at the helm for the last 3 years coupled with the Tottenham manager’s magnificent record at White Hart Lane, make him the people’s choice.

England’s success in Euro 2012 depends on the players who are available as well as the English FA appointing the man best suited to the job, regardless of his nationality.

However, will the FA be forced to consider an Englishman as a pre-requisite in their search for a new manager or will they opt for the best possible option as previously mentioned?

Realistically they will opt for the former, mainly to appease the supporters before an important international tournament like Euro 2012.

This though, begs a question which applies to the footballing world in general – Is a home-grown manager better suited to leading his nation than a foreign manager?

There are cases for both.

For England, Fabio Capello is statistically their best manager going by his win ratio – which is at 66% over 42 games.

However, the manager only led the England team at one international tournament where they failed to make it to the quarter finals.

Undoubtedly Capello failed to deal with off-field problems as well as an experienced manager should have, letting captaincy issues force him into an early exit.

The manager did however; qualify for two major tournaments while ushering in a new generation of English youth players creating a realistic sense of optimism before the Euro Championships in the summer.

There have been examples of foreign managers succeeding with national sides out with their native country.

South Korea in 2002 managed to reach the World Cup semi-finals under Guus Hiddink, with the Dutchman also leading Australia to their first World Cup in 32 years and Russia to the semi-finals in Euro 2008.

The similarly successful German national Otto Rehhagel led Greece to their greatest footballing success in 2004 when they lifted the European Championship in a surprise victory.

Greece defeated Portugal in the final of that tournament, a side led by Brazilian Luiz Felipe Scolari. This was Portugal’s only appearance in a major international final – the best performance in their history.

All were relative successes in their own right and led by a foreign manager, the countries achieved unparalleled results in their recent history.

Despite this success though, there is more reason to believe that foreign managers aren’t the way forward for international sides.

As mentioned, Capello failed to achieve any tangible success with England similar to the performance of Sven-Goran Eriksson years before him.

England’s greatest ever achievement was under the leadership of Alf Ramsay, when they won the 1966 World Cup in front of their own home support.

Furthermore, no teams have reached the final of any World Cup with a foreign manager since.

Vicente Del Bosque most recently led Spain to the World Cup in 2010, with Luis Aragones managing his countrymen to the 2008 Euro Championships.

Otto Rehhagel’s Euro 2004 win for Greece was the only exception – of a national team winning a major international tournament without a countryman leading the team – in the last 30 years.

These examples of triumph under native managers, lead to the conclusion that a foreign coach is not necessarily the best option when considering who the Football Association want to lead their team.

Looking to the future – in England’s case – Wayne Rooney highlighted Harry Redknapp as his choice to lead the national side. The striker stating ‘Got to be English to replace him (Capello), Harry Redknapp for me’.

There is no conclusive formula to implement when the search begins for a new international manager.

Ultimately, it should come down to who is the best available option but there is plenty of evidence to show that employing a man born in the same country as the players will reap the greatest rewards.

Culturally, the manager will understand the players as well as being able to immediately express his philosophy and ideas to the side in their own language.

Although a definitive rule would be unrealistic to expect, Football Associations should begin to move forward with the rational objective of producing home-grown managers who have the ability to lead their national team at major international tournaments.

A stadium full of English fans supporting a team of English players led by an English manager is surely the recipe for success, and the English FA – as well as any other FA looking to appoint a new manager – should make use of said recipe if they are to achieve anything as a football nation.

What’s your opinion? Get in touch through twitter – @beanroll or in the comment box below. Thanks for reading!

Right?

Bairns heading for the top!

Scottish Guardiola?

On the back of a 13 game win streak which has seen them claim top spot in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League, Celtic are a side in devastatingly astute form.

Contrastingly, the First Division campaign has been an inconsistent one for Falkirk with too many defeats in their chase to pip nearest rivals Ross County to promotion.

Both sides however, have had similarly clinical performances in the League Cup resulting in the surprisingly thrilling semi-final at Hampden on the 29th of January.

It was Falkirk’s first appearance in a major semi-final since their historic Scottish Cup run in 2009, where they were eventually beaten by an overpowering Rangers side.

They produced a revenge act this season with a 3-2 win against Rangers at the Falkirk Stadium in the 3rd round and since that point have attracted resounding praise for their breath-taking brand of football.

Led by former Hearts and Dundee United player Steven Pressley, the Bairns play a stylish attacking type of football which is built upon a strong, organised foundation – much like the style their manager was renowned for as a player.

Pressley – who led Falkirk to relegation in his maiden season – has recovered an ailing Falkirk side to a prominent force in Scottish football.

Although having never won the Scottish League, Falkirk are one of the oldest sides in Scotland after being founded in 1876.

Their recent relative success is testament to their youth structure – first led by former manager Eddie May before being taken to a new level under Craig McPherson – with their first team squad boasting 10 academy graduates.

Of those graduates, at least 6 have made over 10 appearances – more than contributing to their season so far.

Approaching the Celtic game, there was focus put, quite rightly, on the in-form Celtic side.

The media cast up the surprise 2-0 Scottish Cup defeat to Ross County as the last time Celtic met a First Division side in a domestic cup semi-final.

Neil Lennon had to make sure that his Bhoys weren’t dealt another surprise blow by the Bairns.

Of the Pressley’s Bairns, Farid El-Alagui, Mark Millar and Jay Fulton were the particular focus of attention before the game.

El-Alagui has scored 21 goals in all competitions this year, offering Falkirk a talismanic figure in which they build their play around.

Former Celtic youth player Mark Millar struggled to make the breakthrough at Parkhead under Gordon Strachan, but his first match against his old club since leaving represented him with a chance to get one over on his former side.

As mentioned, Falkirk have invested a lot of faith in their youth players and no better example of that faith paying dividends is 17 year old midfielder Jay Fulton.

Brother to Dale – also in the Falkirk squad – and son of former Hearts legend Stevie, Jay began his youth career at Celtic before making the move to Falkirk.

The gangly midfielder shows a calm state of mind when faced with pressure for someone so young. At 17, his performance in this semi-final was one which belied his years.

Although not dominating the play, Fulton made enough of a contribution through his equalising goal in the first half for Celtic to consider him a threat.

He isn’t the only player under 20 who is developing a name for himself, with Murray Wallace, Kieran Duffie, Stephen Kingsley and Craig Sibbald all attracting interest with their fantastic displays.

Sibbald especially, may be the most difficult player for Falkirk to hold on to after reported suitors from the Old Firm, Arsenal, Spurs, Man City and Liverpool all showing interest.

The 16 year old only made his debut in July, yet has appeared 19 times for Falkirk, including that famous defeat of the Ibrox side..

All the aforementioned players featured at Hampden against Celtic, and to a certain extent did not disappoint.

Fulton got the goal which had Celtic worried for a time, until going on to win 3-1. Wallace played well in defence as did Duffie but were given a harsh lesson in top class striking by Gary Hooper and Anthony Stokes, surely a reminder for the youngsters that their short term development rests solely in the hands of their current club.

El-Alagui and Miller played well at times, with Miller showing sporadically that he is immensely talented in the middle of the park. From the first whistle it was apparent that the midfielder knew how to retain possession among some of the best central midfielders in the country.

Sibbald made a fleeting appearance at the end of the match – he had only recently returned from a potentially terrible knee injury – but it was a significant substitution, with Pressley showing that he is more than confident the young winger can cut it amongst illustrious opposition.

The real star on the day for Falkirk though, was an unknown Mancunian wearing the number 10 shirt so famous among Falkirk fans.

In a similar role to that occupied by the legendary Russell Latapy, Kallum Higginbotham terrorised Celtic’s defence with a performance full of flamboyancy.

At 22 years of age, Higginbotham has enjoyed a mediocre career with Oldham, Accrington and Rochdale until settling at Falkirk.

Now under the stewardship of Pressley he has excelled in a role just behind El-Alagui, providing the creative thrust to a side which has plenty of power and passing in abundance as well as being very capable defensively.

For Fulton’s goal, Higginbotham demonstrated a magnificent body swerve to lose Celtic’s Victor Wanyama before playing a perfectly weighted pass in to the winger’s path to score the goal.

Although Celtic ran out deserved winners, for long spells the First Division side performed a role reversal, dominating their loftier opponents.

Now after the disappointment of missing out on a cup final, the Falkirk Bairns must continue performing with a courageous attacking approach which has served them so well thus far.

Falkirk are slowly but surely developing an identity based on successful top-class youth players well on their way to taking themselves and their club to the top!

Follow me on twitter – @beanroll

Coming next: Who’s better – Part 2.

El-No Classico

All too familiar sight

A fixture which name translates as ‘The Classic’, yet now sadly lacks so much of the class it is renowned for.

It is possibly – if not already – the most anticipated match in the footballing calendar with the underlying tension, hatred and jealousy felt between both sides unlike any other.

Add to that the marvellous individual and team talent on show and Spain boasts one of the greatest rivalries on the planet. A spectacle to rival the Superbowl, the World Cup Final, Champions League final and any other ‘big’ game worth mentioning.

The one thing which has struck me most through these two rounds of ‘El Classico’ is the disgusting behaviour of both sides.

It has been petty, nasty, bordering on childlike and has more than taken away from the mesmerising – sometimes fantastical – football which has been played.

Spectators regardless of preference, sat back anticipating some of the finest football the world is ever likely to see. After all, with Messi, Ronaldo, Xavi, Iniesta and Ozil all involved, a salivating pallet is unavoidable.

However, despite moments of individual brilliance – Messi’s solo run and assist for Pedro’s goal plus Alves fine strike – the ugly side of the derby reared its head too many times, not just in the 2nd leg – where the match finished 2-2 – but in the 1st as well.

Barcelona and Real Madrid have always had an intensely contested rivalry between one another.

There have been times when the football has dominated – like Ronaldinho’s famous performance at the Bernabeu in 2005 when his efforts received a standing ovation from the home fans.

In other cases, the rivalry has turned disgusting – the infamous moment when a pigs head was thrown at Madrid’s Luis Figo when he returned to the Camp Nou immediately springs to mind.

Now, it has come full circle.

Combine the emergence of arguably the best football team ever in Guardiola’s Barcelona side, with the appointment of the notoriously controversial Jose Mourinho as Real boss and we were always going to see fireworks.

Barcelona have dominated domestically and on the European stage for the past 6 years winning the Champions League 3 times.

Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi have cemented themselves as the most lethal triumvirate in world football, with the latter possibly the greatest player to have played the game.

Real on the other hand have won a mere 2 trophies in the past 6 years, and in comparison to their great rivals, have struggled to create a brand of football anywhere near the level of Barcelona.

Due to this, Jose Mourinho was hired last summer and in his maiden season he closed the gap, winning a Copa Del Rey title at the hands of Barca but still being pipped to the La Liga and Champions League crowns.

Mourinho is without doubt a world class coach and man manager who was brought in to lead Real Madrid’s grand plans to return to the top of Spanish and European football.

He has success wherever he has gone, unfortunately though that has not quite extended to Real Madrid as of yet.

Finishing second in the League, as well as being knocked out of the Champions League by Barca, Madrid’s rivals have been a source of frustration for Mourinho.

The ridiculous antics shown by Madrid’s players were not unlike the Portuguese managers previous teams, but it is the intent on stifling Barca which is the biggest frustration.

After all they have some of the most lethal attacking weapons in world football: Ronaldo, Ozil, Higuain, Kaka and Alonso can all provide goals and assists with their fast paced, thrusting counter attacks which are put to such great effect out with the El Classico.

Madrid though, are not alone in their trivial displays!

Barcelona may not over exert any physical presence they have, but the way in which they maliciously badger the referee to produce cards for fouls is saddening to watch.

Regardless of whether the fouls deserve punishment or not, they make the referee’s job harder in an already demanding situation.

A prime example of this was a tackle on Lionel Messi from Lassana Diarra late in the first half. After the referee rightly blowing for a foul, the Barca players swiftly proceeded to surround the referee waving imaginary cards, gesturing for a yellow card which would send Diarra off.

It is understandable that players should claim for fouls when they are deserved, but deliberately pressurising the referee in to altering his instant reaction to a foul is not needed.

This incident sparked a quasi-riot involving nearly all the players – a ridiculous outcome to an honest tackle which Diarra, more significantly, did not deny was a foul.

Sergio Ramos displayed a similar gesture when kicking the ball of Messi a yard away from where he was taking a free kick so both sides are just as culpable for the bad behaviour.

This all follows on from the malicious stamp Pepe had on Messi last week, which resulted in the centre back publicly apologising for something which could have easily been avoided in the first place.

What strikes most about the El Classico fixture now though, is that Barcelona and Real Madrid have an intense hatred which is worsening by the game.

Barcelona are quite rightly emerging victorious with their unstoppable play, leading to terrible frustration for Mourinho and his team.

Madrid’s direct ploy to get in the face of Barcelona is wrong, and for most fans and pundits there is a craving for Mourinho to simply attack in the El Classico. As mentioned, they are the side most suitably equipped to play Barcelona at their own game, and win.

The match is now becoming renowned for the scandal rather than the spectacular spectacle it should be.

Team GB.

Team GB?

Upon the appointment of Stuart Pearce as manager of Team GB, the selection of players from all the home nations remains a huge talking point with only a year before the Olympics get underway.

I’m not going into this job looking only to select English players. If at all possible, it should be made up of all the home nations.” Certainly from Pearce’s point of view he is looking to select players from not only England, but the rest of Great Britain. A stance not necessarily reciprocated by the Scottish, Welsh and Irish FA but one which will not go unnoticed at their relevant HQ’s.

The concept of a Team GB entering the London Olympics in 2012 was one which generated much talk and excitement, but at the same time showed a clear lack of solidarity between Great Britain on a footballing front.

With the Scottish and Welsh FA both feeling it could compromise their position as an independent nation, it is understandable that their players have kept quiet over the issue.

However, the statement of intent given by Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsay over their participation in the event could pave the way for many more high profile players to make themselves available for selection.

At the moment Wales haven’t qualified for a major tournament in I don’t know how many years so it would be nice to play in one against the best countries in the world.” Bale obviously has the intention of being involved, and despite being a hugely important player for both club and country, he has now put himself in the forefront of both Pearce and the WFA’s mind.

So what position are Scottish players in?

Well the SFA have reiterated their opposition to the idea which is most important in this situation.

The Scottish Football Association represents the biggest threat to the plans of Team GB, with the chances of their opinion unlikely to change.

However, they have no right to block any call ups by the GB Olympic Team to any of their players and the decision will rest solely with the player and his club.

Also, the European Championships in 2012 have to be taken into account when any players are selected, being the second most important international footballing event on the calendar.

Again however, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have been unable to qualify for this event so effectively all their players would have the ‘summer off’ and therefore be available.

Undoubtedly, the quality which could be brought together by a Team GB side could amount to a Olympic glory.

As Pearce has already stated he will not only select players from England, so there is a huge opportunity for players from the home nations to sample the biggest sporting event in the world, adding to their experience.

The question is who would be good enough to represent Team GB?

From an English perspective, despite the recent decline in quality from their youth teams, they still have an array of talent to pick from for this event.

With Pearce also the Under 21 manager, there is no one better suited to picking the best young talent they have.

The squad will be made up of 18 players who all must be born either on, or after, 1 January 1989 – but three players over this age can also be selected in the side.

This then paves the way for players such as Darren Fletcher, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Craig Bellamy and Steven Davis to be drafted in to add experience to the squad.

Fletcher is arguably the best Scottish player, but after the encouraging Euro 2012 qualifying campaign, players such as Barry Bannan, David Goodwillie and Danny Wilson could all push for a place in the squad.

Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsay are without a doubt the best of a golden generation of Wales players and would be certain of a call-up.

Northern Ireland’s opposition to the Team GB could be seen as redundant by 2012, with the country having no real top-class players capable of making the squad.

Pearce’s position could be seen as an enviable one, but at the same time one which carries a lot of baggage.

With near free-reign on the best young talent in the UK, he must fight against the politics of the Football Associations to ensure he selects the best Team GB possible.

As a Scottish Fan who has only witnessed his country at an international tournament once, I would have no qualms with players such as Bannan, Goodwillie, Wilson or even Fletcher getting a call-up for the GB side.

As long as FIFA stick to their view that all the home nations will remain independent for the rest of the international events, then the Olympics participation will do nothing but galvanise the UK.

So, if I was Stuart Pearce and the tournament was next week, this would be my selection for Team GB.

     Allan McGregor (+21)

Chris Smalling                    Phil Jones                                            Danny Wilson                    Kyle Walker

 Jack Wilshere

    Aaron Ramsay                                   Tom Cleverley

Ryan Giggs(+21)                                     Danny Wellbeck                                  Daniel Sturridge

Subs – Oxlade-Chamberlain, Bannan, Steven Davis(+21), Ross Barkley, Goodwillie, Rodwell, Fielding.

THINK YOU COULD DO BETTER? Get a bit of discussion and give me your Team GB below.

Tall-ish Order.

Scotland hoping for more goals against Spain.

Qualifying for Euro 2012 is an outcome which many Scottish fans may have seen as a tall order when the country was placed with superpowers Spain and notoriously difficult teams Czech Republic and Lithuania in their qualifying group, but on the eve of our penultimate qualifier against Lichtenstein, the nation could still achieve this tall order.

Sitting third in the group, with two away fixtures against Lichtenstein and then Spain, Scotland must take full points to have any hope of making the play-offs for the tournament. Couple two wins with a defeat for Czech Republic against Spain tonight and the play-offs is where the country will be, representing a real chance to reach a major international tournament for the first time since 1998. It is a difficult challenge but one which is achievable, so how will Scotland overcome such a challenge?

Firstly, Lichtenstein is a team which Scotland has beaten already in the qualifiers. Albeit unconvincingly, the 2-1 victory went some way to helping the Tartan Army get to this point in qualifying, so the players should approach Saturday’s game with a sense of confidence.

Secondly, arguably Scotland’s best performance of the campaign came in the narrow 3-2 defeat to Spain at Hampden, with only a late Fernando Llorente goal being the difference between the sides. Spain in Alicante is a totally different scenario however and it will take a superhuman performance from the team and the manager to get anything from the game.

Levein has been experimental in this campaign, as well as the friendly matches between qualifiers, and that sense of experiment will not be lost in the next two games. Saturday represents a chance for the manager to test his attacking arsenal without the inclusion of Darren Fletcher and Kenny Miller.

Arguably two of Scotlands best players, both are suffering from slight injuries meaning they won’t be risked in Lichtenstein, but there absence could be seen as a blessing in disguise for players such as David Goodwillie, Craig Mackail-Smith and Barry Bannan.

In Levein’s 4-5-1 formation, there is only space for one lone striker and Mackail-Smith, Goodwillie and possibly Steven Naismith are the only realistic options to lead the line. Scotland have been heavily reliant on Miller’s work rate and mobility in their counter attacking play in this qualifying campaign, and these three players have the capability to try and replicate Miller, albeit they may not have the nack of scoring in big games like the Cardiff striker does.

I wouldn’t be surprised however, if Levein opts for Mackail-Smith in a surprising move, with the Brighton striker in red hot form with 6 goals in 12 games. The 27 year old is the only striker demonstrating this season that he can score regularly, contributing to the reason I would pick him ahead of Goodwillie, despite the Blackburn striker being arguably a better player. That goal threat added to his high work rate and ability to run the channels means he could be an able deputy for Miller against Lichtenstein.

In all Scotland’s tussles’ with the big nations in the past 5 years, we have always had a creative talisman who has bare the brunt of producing the inspiration that Scotland fans crave. In games against France, Holland and Italy, James McFadden produced moments of magic which have been few and far between in this qualifying campaign, however in Aston Villa’s Barry Bannan Scotland now have a man capable of taking this mantle.

Bannan was the star man in Scotland’s win over Lithuania in September, taking on the majority of the creative responsibility before eventually setting up Naismith’s winner late in the game. From then on he has also managed to become a regular in Alex McLeish’s Aston Villa side, contributing to their terrific start.

He is undoubtedly talented, a pocket dynamo capable of the faintest of touches or the fiercest of shots, the closest we have to a player you will see in the Spain squad. Allowing him to express himself and influence games in the final third could prove the key in winning both games.

For the scepticists, Spain may be seen as a game where Scotland should sit in with 11 men behind the ball, soaking up pressure before hitting long balls in to the channels for Kenny Miller to chase down, but I see the game as more than that. Levein must approach the game unlike everyone else and look to attack Spain in their weakest area, which I feel is in defence.

Spain dominate games through keeping the ball and through that possession, world class attacking players such as Xavi, Iniesta, Villa, Torres and Pedro put teams to the sword, but in defence there are areas Scotland can exploit, if they are brave enough to go and attack them.

At left back, Spain have no recognised encumbent of this position after the demise of the reliable Joan Capdevila, so the right sided Alvaro Arbeloa may find himself there. At centre half, the partnership of Pique and Puyol is formidable, but one which has seen its best days. Finally, Sergio Ramos is a top quality right back, but again when defending can sometimes be rash and error prone.

I understand Scotland may not have all the players to exploit the weaknesses I see in the Spain squad, but with the dangerous players they have, it is up to Levein to allow them to attack Spain to try and achieve something, rather than sit in scared and wait for them to hurt us. A draw is simply not enough.

Scotland must first hope that Spain do them a favour on Friday night, then either have an off day or rest there stars for the final qualifier on Tuesday. It is time for the country to believe, hopefully providing the impetus and inspiration for the national team to pull off the unlikeliest of results.

Tevez: Right or Wrong?

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Refusing to come on as a substitute in Manchester City’s Champions League group match with Bayern Munich was a decision which has sparked huge controversy, but for Carlos Tevez the refusal will have been well thought out.

Tevez made it clear from the end of last season that his time at Manchester City, a club he has served wonderfully for two seasons, had to end. Beset by personal problems and a lust to join his family in South America, the striker made it public knowledge that he wanted to leave and gave his club the whole of the summer transfer window to try and make that happen. So for me, Tevez’ controversial decision to reject his manager’s order is one which is unprofessional, but also one which comes as no surprise.

I don’t want anyone to mix that up with how Tevez is as a professional and as a character, as throughout Tevez career in England I have found him to be highly professional in how he plays and conducts himself on the park. He may have made some decisions which have left a sour taste, such as his celebration aimed at the Manchester United hierarchy when contract negotiations broke down in his final season at Old Trafford; and his staunch pledge to leave Manchester City after achieving so much with the club last season.

However, Tevez is adored at his first club West Ham, whom he saved from relegation on the final day of the 2006/07 season. Despite loathed for his move from Utd to City, he contributed 19 goals to the red half of Manchester in two seasons, 5 of which helped them lift the Champions League in 2007/08, as well as lifting the Premier League twice and the League Cup. Then with City, Tevez has contributed massively to their quasi renaissance since coming under new ownership, and provided them with a world class player and controversial story which went some way to raising the profile of the club.

On the park he scored 43 goals in 65 games over two seasons, finishing 5th in his first season and 4th in his second, as well as captaining the side to theFA Cup, their first domestic trophy since 1969. Despite having played only two seasons, Tevez could be seen as City’s most influential player in the last 20 years due to the Cup win and first ever Champions League finish, and as a result of this I feel Man City and Mancini have dealt with the situation terribly.

As mentioned, Tevez made it clear he wanted to leave City from the start of the summer transfer window, which has now ended. Throughout that window, there was a protracted transfer to Corinthians, and despite not knowing the ins and outs of the deal, City played hard ball on a fee which, by the look of how they have spent this year, they don’t really need. I can understand the point that City still have to do their business properly and like any other club in the world If they are to sell their best players then they must command the best fees, but Tevez was quite clearly a man with his mind set on leaving, so can they really be surprised at last nights event?

The Argentine is a flamboyant character and to be honest, I feel an incident like this has done well not to rear its head too many times before. However, I think Mancini has a lot to answer for in how he treats his players. Again it can only be guessed how he interacts with them in a one to one situation, as well as in the team dynamic, but from the outside looking in, he has been found left desperately wanting when big stars, signed by him, have stepped out of line. Mario Balotelli on numerous occasions, Jerome Boateng all last season, Eden Dzeko last night and now Tevez also. I struggle to believe that if another top class manager such as Mourinho, Ferguson or even Wenger had the same players, that they would encounter the same problems.

Without doubt Tevez was City’s star performer last year, despite the defensive heroics of Vincent Kompany. He was their captain, top scorer and all-round talisman, so upon the break down of negotiations with Corinthians, Man City were reassured by Tevez that he would return from the Copa America committed to the next season, and up until this point in the season that is what Tevez has done.

Mancini has obviously took him to breaking point, and having played football to a decent level, I can understand Tevez’ frustration at having to remain somewhere he is obviously not happy in, but in the same token has to remain on the bench, after being such a huge part of the team for the last two seasons.

I agree that if a player is paid money to play as their job, then they should do so when told. However, I don’t think it matters whether they are paid £200 a week or £200,000 a week, the fact still remains that they are being paid for the services.

Tevez saw last night as an opportunity to let Mancini know once and for all that he wouldn’t be cast off as a player that City needed in times of distress, he instead sees himself as the player to help avoid situations like being taught a footballing lesson away to Bayern Munich.

Somehow I feel that if Mancini had buried the hatchet when Tevez iterated his commitment to the team this season, then City would be in an even better situation than the already good one they find themselves in.

Where does Tevez go from here? Well Mancini says the striker will ‘never’ play for him again. I would not be surprised if he makes a Wayne Rooney-esque return to the team after a couple of months.