Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino is an example of when patience in a player’s ability can pay dividends, writes Johnny Hynes.
If a musical act wants to make it nowadays they don’t spend years touring and gigging, gradually building up a fan base. The easier and faster option is to enter one of the many TV talent shows. It provides instant recognition and maybe even the lucrative possibility of an Xmas number one – barring the sudden entrance of Rage Against The Machine back in to the charts.
Going from being penniless to a multimillionaire can follow the same rapid path via just purchasing a lottery ticket. It could be you…
While the idea of having to wait a week to see the next episode of your favourite TV show is now alien to an entire generation. Instead, they can binge on boxsets and watch as many episodes as they want, when they want. Instant, now, on demand, no waiting, no patience required; that is modern society.
Perhaps this way of thinking explains why we all expect new signings to automatically hit the ground running, win Man of the Match awards or start banging in goals. Roberto Firmino is a prime example of what I’m talking about.
After a few games this season there were plenty of Liverpool supporters grumbling and declaring the Brazilian to be not up to scratch (or passing more damning verdicts that involved swear words). I admit I felt the same way as I couldn’t see what he was bringing to the side.
Most of us, though, were forgetting that time is required for the vast majority of players to settle in. When I spoke to Firmino last month he explained he knew the start of his career in England would be tough and that the first two to three months were exactly that. And it’s not as if a different type of football is the only thing new arrivals have to deal with. In reality, that is just a small fraction of the whole process as they acclimatise to a different country.
Fernando Torres was so perplexed by the concept of cash back that he walked out of a supermarket without his groceries. Alberto Moreno was stunned by the fact that people could fill up their cars before paying for fuel. “I think if it worked like that in Spain everybody would just drive away without handing over the cash,” he laughed.
Both anecdotes give you a small insight in to just how many aspects of settling in at a new club in a different culture there are, and how easily the process could go awry. If you think about it, we should actually be surprised by the number of players who arrive in to a Premier League club and do well because the odds are hugely against them.
Firmino now seems to be finding his feet, as his goal in Thursday night’s Europa League last 16 first leg tie against Manchester United – his third in as many appearances – again illustrated.
After rounding off the scoring in a 3-0 victory over Man City and getting the crucial equaliser during the come-from-behind with ten men win at Crystal Palace, the well-taken finish past David de Gea could be the most important he’s netted so far. There have also been some impressive assists from the former Hoffenheim attacker.
I’m not saying his improved form guarantees he’ll go on to be a huge star for Liverpool, but his recent displays show that if us supporters do have some patience then it could be rewarded.
It’s an old-fashioned concept that might just work.
Johnny Hynes, Pundit Arena
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