Jose Mourinho trying to take credit for Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw’s upturns in form is rubbish if I’m honest.
When I was an apprentice at Walsall I used to get drilled down upon two, three, four, ten times a session.
The coach would say ‘it is because you have that ability I am focusing on you. The day that I stop moaning about you is the day you should worry because that is the day I have given up on you.’
I was singled out as somebody with talent and the coach would say ‘I am going to hammer you until you get it right’.
For me it pushed me so far into my shell that it almost made me want to quit professional football.
That was at age 17. It was unpleasant experience. One that made me feel I couldn’t do anything right.
It was also one that was revisited at Aston Villa and John Gregory would say ‘yes you have scored two but you should have scored three.’
There was never any compliment for what I did do. There was always a bar and barrier.
He tried to get me to that high point and that was his way of doing it.
But in 2018 youngsters aren’t used to the barracks mentality – break them to make them – which was the norm in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
Luke Shaw by his own admission might have struggled to walk again never mind play football after he broke his leg and Jose Mourinho didn’t take that into consideration.
Week in, week out it wasn’t a case of wanting him to jump hurdles. It was as if he was bullying him. That’s how it came across to me. Likewise with Anthony Martial.
Now Mourinho is trying to rewrite history because two players are in decent, recent form.
Shaw hasn’t been world class every week but he has been decent. And Martial was very good in the first half against Everton and decent recently.
But Mourinho is almost saying ‘I am going to take the praise for this.’
Instead, you have to give the players credit for not massively biting following his treatment.
They could have come out at times and opened up to any number of journalists or asked to go on the transfer list.
But I don’t think Mourinho has anything to do with their recent form.
Martial came to the club and was meant to go on and be like Kylian Mbappe and shape the next generation of forwards. He is still miles off that kind of form.
Shaw was supposed to be England’s left back for ten years and is just getting back into the frame with the national team.
Congratulations to both of them for keeping their heads down and for their professionalism.
But Mourinho has only ever hampered them. He has never kicked them on to the next level.
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