The Difference Is In The Belief.
In any area of endeavour, it is never easy for young men in their late teens or twenties to feel completely confident in whatever field they are employed. It usually takes a few years, first to train, and then to gain experience, before confidence kicks in. And it’s not until we hit the thirties that most of us are really on top of our game.
Because of the nature of the sport and the limited career span of footballers, to become one of the best in their chosen profession means confidence and belief in their ability has to be found earlier than usual for young aspiring footballers.
Tottenham seem to be leading the way in identifying and training young players in such a way that confidence becomes the key to the way they perform. Whether they arrive through the Tottenham youth system or are found elsewhere and brought to the academy or into the squad, the emphasis at Tottenham is to train them to play the ‘Spurs way’ and allow them to step onto the park with confidence. In other words …. to play the ‘Spursy’ way!
The ‘Spurs way’ is never more visible than when the team is affected by injuries. The replacement player rarely makes any difference to the way we play because he understands the expectations of his manager. From the spectator perspective, it can be frustrating because supporters demand an increased level of intensity when their team is behind (well, you would, wouldn’t you). But being behind does not seem to concern the players as much as it does the fans … they continue to play their game, exercise patience and believe in the ability of their team to win. And many more times than not, they do.
That’s not to say that every young player will succeed, but every academy member will be aware that they will be given the opportunity to succeed if they work hard and follow instructions. Any deviation from the prescribed training expectations will result in a red card before they even reach the pitch.
This belief is, to me, what sets Spurs apart from most other PL teams. They all demonstrate belief; belief in themselves, belief in their team-mates, belief in their manager, belief in their training regime, belief in the Tottenham Hotspur project, and belief in their support people. It all culminates in …. the belief that they will win. And the current Spurs team never give up.
‘To do and to dare’ is etched into their psyche. Long may it last.