Blog first published on September 24, 2008...
Arsene Wenger's leaked 'confidential' memo to his players has caused quite a stir.
The Arsenal manager is one of the game's great thinkers and someone who is not afraid to experiment with new coaching techniques in order to get the best out of his players.
For that I applaud him. As I do for his latest idea - a motivational handout, to be taken away by his players and digested before each game.
Wenger is no mug - he realises that modern day footballers occasionally need reminding of their responsibilities. Too often these days, players forget what a privileged position they occupy - a result of the overly-pampered lifestyle they are encouraged to lead.
These days, a player's motivation seems to come from achieving short-term objectives. And more often than not that means making money.
With obvious exceptions - including the likes of Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard at Liverpool and Gary Neville and Paul Scholes at Manchester United, all of whom would die for their hometown clubs - the only thing that will get a modern player going is the thought of earning more cash.
For an example look no further than Emmanuel Adebayor, someone at whom this memo could easily have been directed. With Barcelona and Milan sniffing round him last season, he raised his game in a bid to seal a lucrative move abroad.
Ultimately he failed in that bid, but where Adebayor succeeded was in securing a huge hike in pay at Arsenal. Job done. But the question remains, where will he find his motivation this season?
Wenger has recognised this as a problem and he has addressed it with typical astuteness.
In my day, when there was nowhere near the same amount of money sloshing around the game, finding motivation did not seem difficult - you got a kick out of representing your club, and that was it.
Once it did become a problem, you got out of the game. And that is exactly the reason why I finally hung up my boots - the desire was no longer there.
But with fewer and fewer old school professionals left in the game, it is up to the managers to think how best to motivate their players.
So hats off to Wenger. It's just a shame he has been forced into taking this course of action in the first place.
- Arsene Wenger
- Emmanuel Adebayor