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Some countries and clubs are blessed with wonderful talent. Players who have skills we all admire. They do things we all wish we could do. Others have less talented players available to them, but have what I call fighters. Not in the literal sense, but the type of player who will give a whole-hearted effort everytimethey put on their jersey. He'll cover every blade of grass, fight for every 50/50 and will end the game truely shattered as a result of his efforts.

Both have triumphed against each other in the past. The Wrold cup winning Brazilian sides brimming with talent, have brushed all aside in some tournaments, simply outclassing the fighting style some teams have tried to adapt against them. The recent Champions league winning Barcelona team had few fighters and breezed throug the tournament with only a few difficulties along the way. On the other hane, the Greece team which won the Euros last time round had few players who had pure talent (before I offend someone some of the players were talented :) ) and a number of fighters who fought for everything and ended up triumphing.

So what is better? In my view, a mix of the two is best and most teams have a mix of the two. But what is the correct balance? Would you prefer a 50/50 split of fighters and talented skillful players amongst your side. Alternatively maybe 7 skillful players and 3 fighters. The other way round perhaps. Does it also depend on which league your team is in. Do you need more fighters for the lower leagues in your country and more skillful players the higher up you go? It's an interesting conundrum and I feel few managers master this balance through their whole managerial career. The ones that have are the most successful. What do others think?

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Re: Fighters v Talent

Good threat mate. Personally I believe the talented players are the better ones to have, but only if they share the same passion and have the same will to win as the grafters. People sometimes accuse the more naturally gifted players of showing less passion and heart. I often find this to be total rubbish, they dont lack heart and desire, they just have a different way of showing it.

I think it is important to have a blend of the two however Id prefer my team to have more naturally talented players.

Im a Coventry City fan and go to every game, and I often get very disheartened by the lack of natural ability in the team. We have alot of hard workers but very few who actually have the ability to change a game with the ball at their feet instead of just running around like a headless chicken. This often means we are unimaginative, concede possession cheaply, create few chances and play a boring long ball football that is predictable and terrible to watch.

So I would sum that up by reitterating my point at the start that maybe two of these hard working grafters is ideal for a good team. Maybe one hard working striker that runs and runs, aslong as he has a goalscorer along side him is good, and a hard working centre mid that will cover every blade of grass, partnered by a more naturally talented player that has the ability to pass, move, create chances and get a few goals.

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Guest Sooty's Football Brain

Re: Fighters v Talent

There is a difference however between hard workers, and hard workers with something about them. I play football, and I play at a decent level and I'm not going to say i have tremendous talent. I have seen and will continue to see more and more technically gifted players than me, but will not quite make it. People like Lionel Messi and Cesc Fabregas for instance are naturally gifted. However others like David Beckham and Roy Keane in his day are not, but they make the most out of their ability. It is about playing to your strengths. I personally would rather have 11 hard working grafters that are trying to do exactly as you tell them as a manager and give 110% instead of 11 show pony's who have much more talent, but lack the hunger and desire. I think you need a balance, however all must work hard in their own way. You need your players that can drag you through games. Robbie Savage, absolute pants, an example used across every academy in the country, however you'd have him in your side every day of the week, because he plays to his strengths and works hard for the team. You need outlets, your Ronaldo's, your Hlebs or Drogba's that will inevitably win you football matches, but bottom line, as a coach choosing between 2 18 year olds, I and so would most pick the lad with more guts and determination that lacks a little more skill than the guy opposite who has the skill and the flair but no football brain or heart. Simple as.

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Re: Fighters v Talent

When I was a wee lad (many moons ago :rolleyes: ), I played under a manager who would never deviate from the following formation and style of players:

...........................................GK....................................

Fighter..............Fighter...................Talent...............Fighter

Talent..................Fighter.................Talent..............Talent

.............................Fighter...............Talent.......................

His argument was that every talent needs a fighter to cover for him. His idea was to pair up the players on every part of the pitch. So the pairs were CBs, CMs, CFs, Left sided players and Right sided players. Each pair has one fighter and one talent. This actually meant he often did not play the best players. Whilst he was manager, we lost few games. However, the parents of some of the talented lads who were warming the bench, started a campaign to get rid of him and eventually succeeded. New managers came and went and we were never that successful again.

Now I don't advocate that being this rigid is the way to go. You have to make do with the best resources in front of you and we were quite blessed to have a large squad with enough of each type of player. But his philosophy sticks with me today. I wonder what would happen if someone tried this philosophy in todays football :confused:

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Guest Sooty's Football Brain

Re: Fighters v Talent

I didn't like the way you were going with this but I see how it works and it's something that would in my view, compliment a certain winning formula.

However it is not rigid in a view to formation but regarding it's variation it is non-existent. Surely you cannot just buy fighters and talent. What do you do with a mix? What if you have a hard working player with a bit of class. And I think it is also unfair to name one type of player TALENT and the other fighter as it implies that the other has no talent. I would consider myself a fighter because I don't believe my ability is natural, however to call the others the talent I would see as unfair. Don't the Fighters have a talent to work hard. Don't they have their own talents?

I think this technique is not going to work as you get higher up the tiers in English football. I think even in League 1+2 you need to have talent all round the team as hard work gets you no where unless there is an end product. You can't rely on the talent to produce the good every game. However I think non-league football and lower down to Sunday League if you can get yourselves a handful of quality players that are good enough for that level then sure I see no reason, with a little more freedom in poitional sense, why that can't work.

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