After SFA Performance Director Malky Mackay hit out at the 'baller' culture he sees taking hold of younger players, Queen of the South midfielder John Rankin has expressed his full support for the idea by giving alarming examples of the ways in which modern young players, at least at his club, are unable to realise that they need to make sacrifices to make it as professionals.
After praising the attitude and performance of Scotland's U16s in a recent tournament, Mackay was quoted in the Scottish Sun as he criticised the U21 squad for being too needy and sensitive whenever they are criticised.
What we’re looking for is sacrifice from these boys. That’s what it takes to become a footballer because it’s so hard for that one per cent who make it.
They might think it’s going to come easy but it really isn’t. Look at people like Andy Murray and Laura Muir. What do they do? They work harder than everyone else.
I’m not sure we’ve got that yet. We have to get young players back to realising that they must work harder than everyone else they’re competing against.
These 16-year-olds are different to the 21-year-olds we have. That culture of neediness and the sensitive nature isn’t there.
Many took issue with Mackay's comments, claiming that they were too harsh, or from an outdated point of view, but John Rankin took to his Twitter account to give his full support to the comments and elaborate on the culture that young players are growing up in which can be so detrimental to their development.
— John Rankin (@jranks11) March 29, 2017
That is alarming.
If young players are looking to be out of the 'office' as soon as possible, caring more about making the early showing of a movie or a meal in Nandos than sacrificing those things to ensure the best results for the development, then something has gone badly wrong.
You have to actually make it as a footballer before you start acting like one. It's so easy for young footballers to develop a sense of achievement by being on the books at a club, as it makes them a minor local celebrity, but if you aren't putting in the extra hours, you're not going to separate yourself from the pack.
For Rankin, that means more time in the team, but at 33 he is left thinking that the future of his club is in trouble.
It's not just Scotland where you see this becoming an issue. Coaches in England and Ireland are often left baffled by the apparent lack of desire in their players to better themselves, to really work hard to get better, so it's interesting to get the view of an active player who is losing hope.