Rossi but we shouldn’t show it

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On Monday evening Daniele De Rossi questioned his manager’s request for him to warm up when Italy were in desperate need of a goal to rescue their fading hopes of qualification for the World Cup. In a passionate outburst he pointed to Lorenzo Insigne, a forward, and reminded one of the team’s backroom staff in no uncertain terms it was a win Italy needed, not a draw. Trust me, what De Rossi did was something that at some time or other every player has felt like doing.

I have felt De Rossi’s anger – the frustration of watching my team struggle while sitting on a bench yards from the play – and I know that pain and feeling of helplessness at being unable to alter the course of an important match (too many times, I may add!) but also trying to keep my emotions in check when negative events are unfolding.
Deep down I want to vent and shout at the manager to make a change and while that feeling is extremely difficult and hard to describe it’s natural nonetheless and is a positive sign because it means I care. I could only imagine how De Rossi, a 34-year-old midfield player of the highest calibre, felt Denzel Perryman Authentic Jersey watching his last chance of representing his nation at a World Cup fall apart.
But here’s the irony: normally a player is emotional or upset at not entering the field of play and we’ve all seen the selfish reactions of players who feel aggrieved at being substituted and throw a childish fit coming off the pitch. What makes De Rossi’s actions so rare was the fact he was signalling for another player to go on instead, a selfless gesture that showed he cared more for the benefit of his team than for himself.
In the aftermath of Italy’s elimination by Sweden, Germany’s World Cup‑winning manager, Joachim Löw, described De Rossi’s reaction as a “moment of greatness”. I understand where he’s coming from but would Löw have offered that same opinion if it was one of his players who had protested so publicly at one of his tactical decisions? I don’t think so.
It’s a double-edged sword we share as players and coaches – I understand and empathise with De Rossi’s actions but I feel that as players we not only have a duty to give everything to Patrik Laine Jersey win, to care about our team and to support our team‑mates but also have a duty to respect our manager publicly, as they are the ones paid to make the decisions. The buck stops with the manager and over my career if I had a pound for every time I or my team-mates wanted to ask our respective managers: “What are you thinking?” when they have made a decision we disagreed with I would be a billionaire by now!
Possibly more than any other profession, football is subject to the opinion and conviction of almost every person who engages with it, but could you imagine the state of our game if every time a player was told to warm up he tried to discuss the benefits to the team of making a different tactical decision? The match would be over before any changes could be made.
Organisations, businesses and football clubs all have different versions of a power structure. Some are more inclusive in decision-making and some are purely autocratic and, without going into the pros and cons of each leadership style, especially in football, the one person who always pays the price of success or failure is the manager.
It was no shock that Gian Piero Ventura was sacked by the Italian FA, considering it was the first World Cup this traditional football power had not qualified for in 60 years. Even though he was fired, in effect he fell on his sword as it was he who made the decision not to bring on Insigne, along with all of the choices he made both in terms of tactics and team selections throughout his disappointing spell in charge of one of the great football nations.
What De Rossi did was passionate, patriotic and from his perspective in the best interests of his team. Of that there can be no doubt. I have huge respect for his courage and he’s a braver man than me but, while we all want to see that passion in every one of the players who represent our team, the truth of the matter is more pragmatic and less romantic: if we did see that every week, there would be anarchy running through every dressing room, creating dysfunctional hierarchies and damaging a team’s performance on the pitch.


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