In his three years with Celtic, Jim McGuinness has progressed from working with youth academy players to the first team. He is also well on the road to becoming a fully fledged coach himself.
Speaking on Tuesday night's Off The Ball, the former Donegal manager outlined one of the main attributes which he feels is required to make it as a professional footballer - reliability.
One of the challenges is managing expectations. Suddenly the football can get lost in the overall picture. 'I've got to do this, I've got to do that' when the reality is you've got to play your position really well. You've got to understand your position really well. You've got to be able to play within a system. You have to be able to go out onto a football field and execute a gameplan within your position and for the team and do that to a level that a coach or manager can watch and say 'I think that I can trust that kid to play'. That's what it boils down to for managers.
I've been there myself and if you're standing on the sideline and you feel that you're porous or you feel that somebody is not up to the level and that the opposition is going to play on that, it compromises a manger. The manager's job is to ensure that the team is not compromised and to do that you need people that you can trust.
That's one of the key things when we speak to you players. They're keen to get in there and give it a go and they feel that they should be in the first team but the reality is that they need to come to the table with all the skillsets that put them in a position to be competitive every single day in training. So when the manager's walking off the pitch, he's thinking 'I can trust that kid'. If they can bring that consistency to their game and then bring that onto the park, that for me is the winning formula.
The 42-year-old also explained how players can attain the necessary level of consistency, putting a major emphasis on the setting of performance goals.
What they do in training is the critical thing. Their gym work, their nutrition, their strength and conditioning and then the psychological stuff and trying to develop a culture or performance goals. I think if you can do that, it alleviates the pressure externally from parents, from agents, from friends. These are the top players in their community or locality and then they go into Celtic and they're all at the same level. So, they have to leave that behind them.
There's a lot of things that they need to take care of. But if they can just take care of themselves. Take care of performance goals. Get themselves right for training. Be ready when they come through the door in the morning. Be professional in everything that they do. Work really hard, keep the head down and don't get too carried away when they're doing well and don't get too down when they're not getting an opportunity or they're out of form or have picked up and injury. Just keep working hard.
You can listen to the interview below.
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