A couple of years ago I wrote an article talking about players wasting their natural talent because they had poor attitudes.
The majority of my readers believed that attitude was just as important to a footballer as their talent.
Now I am back to talk about the same subject again because two Premier League footballers in particular are displaying clearly the harm a poor attitude can do to a football career.
Those two players are Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor and Liverpool’s Mario Balotelli. Adebayor is believed to be close to making a loan switch to Aston Villa, after being frozen at Spurs by boss Mauricio Pochettino.
Meanwhile on Merseyside Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has been busy bringing in strikers this summer. One of the reasons for those forward arrivals is that mercurial Italian striker Mario Balotelli has struggled to perform for the Reds since making a £16million move from AC Milan.
Why always him he once asked? The better question would be why never him on the scoresheet? The forward was recently linked with a move back to his homeland.
One thing that these two players have in common is their poor attitude towards the profession that has made them millionaires.
Another thing they have in common is the fact that they are regarded as very talented footballers. Both have attributes that a lot of players would love to have, yet they have never had the right application to fulfil their potential.
Adebayor seems to enjoy the odd flourish of enthusiasm when he first joins a team, before getting bored and deciding to not bother turning up anymore.
Balotelli is regarded as one of the biggest mavericks playing football at this moment in time. He has the physical attributes to frighten the life out of defenders instead he chooses not to work hard and his once promising football career is now in limbo.
The greats of the game Pele, Diego Maradona, Johan Cruyff and more recently Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi all had their own way of nurturing their talent. What they all have in common is a determination to win or better themselves as individuals.
They have an insatiable attempt to win and be winners, sometimes at any cost. Players like Balotelli and Adebayor just do not seem to care about what they are doing sometimes.
They will sulk or hide in a match if it is not going their way and that is why they have not fulfilled their potential at the top level, despite their obvious football ability.
At 24-years-old Balotelli has already been round the block a bit. He’s gone from Italy to England back to England again. He is now being linked with a move back to his homeland, where he never seemed comfortable.
The striker still has time and potential to become a good player, but that would mean changing his mind set and that looks very unlikely at the moment, as it would mean changing his whole personality.
The striker’s stock has fallen so far in his time on Merseyside that he is odds of 80/1 to win the Premier League golden boot in the new season. Those odds are obviously taking into account that he will most likely be leaving the Reds in the near future, but still they are long odds.
When Tim Sherwood managed Adebayor at Tottenham the Togo striker managed to score 14 goals in 21 appearances for the north London outfit. If he does complete the expected move to Villa then Villans fans can expect an initial decent run of form from the striker, before he decides to hibernate.
It is a crying shame that Adebayor never had the application to go with his immense natural talent, because if he would have done then the striker would have been a fantastic striker. Instead he will be a cautionary tale told to young footballers about wasted talent and not working hard enough.
It is a shame that neither of these highly-paid stars is ever going to reach the peak of the game, just because they could not be bothered to run a bit faster, or behave in a more professional manner both on and off the pitch.
There is very little use having such natural talent if it is coupled with a poor attitude. There are so many players that have been far more successful than the aforementioned pair and had far less talent.
Adebayor and Balotelli are not the first and will not be the last Premier League footballers to have poor attitudes. I am just thankful that other players give so much to make the English top-flight one of the best the world and not decide to waste the fantastic opportunity they have been given.
Is attitude more important than natural talent?