Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

It's about Time 'Stars' Were Put in Their Place; RAFA CALLING SHOTS AT UNITED CAN ONLY BE GOOD FOR FUTURE

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

It's about Time 'Stars' Were Put in Their Place; RAFA CALLING SHOTS AT UNITED CAN ONLY BE GOOD FOR FUTURE

Article excerpt

IT warms the cockles of an aged heart to hear a Newcastle United manager warn his so-called blue chip stars that they cannot have everything their own way as they expect.

Rafa Benitez took it upon himself this week to declare that Moussa Sissoko and Gini Wijnaldum have to "face up to their responsibilities" having played their significant part in United's relegation.

Benitez reiterated that he is not being forced to sell by those above him and "at the moment we will say no to everyone".

Good on you, Rafa. Some ego-bloated footballers believe they can regularly fail on the football field, culminating in relegation for their team, and then stroll off to another Premier League club on even bigger money, leaving the wreckage behind them.

Of course the odds are still heavily stacked in favour of Sissoko and Wijnaldum leaving - I have no doubt about that - but what will be significant is that it'll be when Rafa wants and not them.

He did it with Andros Townsend, did he not, only allowing his move to Crystal Palace when Matt Ritchie was on his way from Bournemouth. One in, one out is a good policy with the club holding the aces until the moment is right.

The trouble is in this game of cat and mouse no manager, club, or fans want to permanently hold on to a player who obviously doesn't wish to be there. That attitude will seep into the dressing-room effecting morale and team spirit as well as guaranteeing that a sulking superstar won't perform at his best.

For me what is a darned sight worse than limited ability is when a player who has mostly hidden depths also has an indifference that allows him to operate way beneath his best level when the mood doesn't take him. Could I possibly be talking of Sissoko at Newcastle and Sissoko at the Euros? Nevertheless it doesn't mean any player should leave exactly when he wants, go where he wants, and as cheaply as the buying club wishes.

Benitez himself is an excellent example of a person with a tip-top pedigree who had "faced up to his responsibilities" and stayed when it would have been dead easy to take to his toes. …

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