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FOOTBALL : Time for players to stand up and be counted.

Byline: Tom Ross

WE Brummies and Black Country folk are quite clear about what we expect from those who are privileged to wear the shirt of the team we support, be it Villa, Blues, Albion, Wolves or Walsall.

We will forgive lack of skill or ability as long as the player gives 100 per cent and plays with passion, desire and commitment. Anything less is met with anger and derision and rightly so.

If a player is off form he can still 'get stuck in' but do enough players do that or do they hide?

When things are going wrong and you are off form you can do one of two things. You can accept that you are off form and hide and leave everyone else to sort it out or you can be a man and dig deep mentally and do the best you can.

Amazingly I have witnessed in recent games players who refuse to tackle or who jump out of tackles, which is unforgivable!

While others have just notworked hard enough while some have worked their socks off for the cause. Our three Premiership clubs are in a war of survival and need to be mentally strong for the challenge and more importantly have to care. Do the players care enough about the club they play for or do they just think if relegation occurs then I'll still be paid and if necessary move on to another soft touch club who'll pay me thousands of pounds per week. Of course there are plenty of players who sweat blood for thecause but they are getting fewer by the season.

This day before signing a new player a manager has to not only consider their ability but also has to fully investigate their character to ensure they are the right type. The reality of football management is that managers and coaches have no real clout these money driven days.

Players get paid whether in the team or not so the threat of being dropped means nothing.

What a manager hopes is that the player will be self-motivated and have pride in his profession and himself. Whenever teams lose or are at the bottom of the table it's understandable that the manager takes the flak.

In my view its quite simple any player not showing 100 per cent desire and commitment, and who is not prepared to 'put his foot in' should be got rid of at the earliest opportunity and the sooner the better.

Players have to ask themselves 'did I do enough for the cause' 'did I do enough to justify my salary' Time to look in the mirror guys
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Dec 7, 2005
Words:442
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