It has long been debated amongst fans, players past and present as well as experts what balance is needed between natural talent contrasted with working hard in order to succeed. Some players are clearly born with an innate ability to thrive in the football world whilst others need to work a little harder to succeed.
We’ve spoken to a number of ex-professionals and coaches on this topic and they have given their view. Former Wolverhampton Wanderers goalkeeper Mark Murray pointed out to us that “natural ability definitely helps”. Referencing his role as a goalkeeper he noted that “I was six-foot-five and quite athletic” which were characteristics that were always going to be key in his position. This demonstrates that in some respects natural attributes are simply required to succeed.
However, Murray did not dismiss hard work as unimportant. He told us “you have to tap into your coaches” in order to learn and grow as a player. Generally, hard work is what makes the differ- ence at the highest level. Noel Whelan, who used to play for Leeds United and Coventry, also ex- tolled the importance of hard work in everything you do.
He said, “it’s got to become a part of your life every day” and to be the best it is key to make “sure you don’t waste any opportunity to better yourself”. From speaking to the best, we have found a balance is required in order to make an impact in the professional game. The age-old saying rings true in that hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard.
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