Iwan Roberts: ‘If a player isn’t happy and doesn’t want to be at a club then get rid’

PUBLISHED: 06:00 02 October 2020

Nigel Worthington would never tolerate a lack of effort during training Picture: Archant

Nigel Worthington would never tolerate a lack of effort during training Picture: Archant

EDP pics © 2004

I think it’s fair to say it was anything but a super Sunday for Norwich City down on the south coast, suffering their first league defeat at The Vitality Stadium.

Jamal Lewis dealt with speculation in the right manner Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdJamal Lewis dealt with speculation in the right manner Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

In his post-match interview Daniel Farke seemed to imply that all is not well in the camp up at Colney, with a couple of players not giving it their all in training in the build-up to that Bournemouth game.

Some supporters think that Daniel was out of line with his answer to the question as to why there was no Emi Buendia or Todd Cantwell in the first team squad for last Sunday’s game.

Personally, I think he was well within his rights to say what he did, and it sends a strong message to the rest of the squad that if you go through the motions in training then you won’t be involved come match day.

High standards have been set since Stuart Webber and Daniel Farke joined the football club, and if it is going to be promoted, those standards have to be maintained by everyone. Of course, we all have bad days at work, I understand that, but a lack of effort and work ethic just isn’t on, and it isn’t something I’d put up with either if I was the head coach.

I remember Nigel Worthington insisted that we trained with the same intensity as we played, and I share that belief. If Nigel thought for one minute that someone wasn’t pulling his weight in training then he’d dig them out in front of everyone, send them in to the changing rooms, and make them come back in the afternoon to train on their own. Believe you me, that session would be much more physically demanding than the one we’d done that morning.

I’ve trained with a few players who were good enough to go through the motions in training and nobody minded, as we all knew what they would bring to the table come match day. John Barnes wasn’t the best of trainers when I was at Watford. There were some days he might as well have stayed at home, but the great Graham Taylor never dug him out as he knew 99 times out of 100 he would produce the goods on a Saturday.

Mark Hughes and Ian Rush were exactly the same when we joined up with the Welsh squad. It’s fair to say, and they’d admit it themselves, that they weren’t the best in training, but they could get away with it as they were special players and would be world beaters when it mattered most.

If a player isn’t happy and doesn’t want to be at a club then get rid, there’s no point in keeping them.

I wouldn’t want them influencing others in the changing room, and the sooner they left the better.

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side – just ask Alex Pritchard and Josh and Jacob Murphy.

If players want to leave then fair enough, but there’s a way to go about it. Just look at the way Jamal Lewis conducted himself after his dream move to Liverpool fell through. He didn’t throw his toys out of the pram and sulk. He knuckled down, got on with things, and then he got his move to Newcastle – and good luck to him.

The same with Max Aarons, who’s been linked with some of the biggest clubs in Europe. To Max’s credit, he hasn’t let things affect him and has just got on with playing football. He knows when the time is right he’ll be gone to pastures new.

I remember my good friend Robbie Savage instigating his move from Birmingham to Blackburn – he now regrets his actions, but at the time he thought it was the right way to go about things as he was desperate to join Mark Hughes at Blackburn. Robbie admits he was a disruptive influence in training. He’d go out of his way to spoil any session that Steve Bruce would put on. In one training session, every time the ball would end up with Sav he’d smash it 50 or 60 yards out of play on purpose just to try and get under Bruce’s skin.

In the end it worked as he was sold to Blackburn, but Robbie regrets his actions and if he had his time again he would go about things differently.

I guess my point in all this is that there is a right way and a wrong way to go about things, not just in football, but in life. At the end of the day, it all comes down to the individual.

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