Step 5: Remind them they’re at work
Gale: “I think the hardest thing for a young player to learn is that you might have been the man at the youth levels, but now you’re just one of 11 and you have to do your job. And it is your job.”
Brennan: “First and foremost, you’ve got to make sure that the player you get is a good character and willing to learn. If they’ve got that and they understand where they are in the dressing room and on the field… they’re at the bottom of the totem pole now. It’s showing respect for the other guys and listening and paying your dues.
“If you’re willing to do all that, I’m more than happy to help develop you and work with you because I know that you’ve got a great character and you want to be a professional footballer.
“I think far too often you get these young guys that think they’ve made it. They’ve got terrible attitudes. Technically, they might be brilliant. But there’s a lot more than just being technically gifted to be a professional footballer.”
Gale: “We had a fun one last year: we were playing Family Feud. The question was, ‘Name a reason you might be late for work.’ One of our players was like, ‘Well, I’ve never had a job, so I don’t know.’ We’re looking at him and going, ‘Uh, this is your job!’ And then someone’s like, ‘Weren’t you late for training two days ago?’ And he’s like, ‘Oh yeah, I overslept.’ There’s an answer!
“Youth football, it’s fun. You’re with your friends. Even if you get paid as a trainee, it’s still the excitement of it (that matters more) and you think it’s just going to be smooth sailing.
“Now, when you’re in a room with a man who’s got a wife and two kids and is paying his mortgage based on results, and he’s got to get win bonuses and pay his bills, it’s a whole different kettle of fish. You learn those lessons very fast.”