Over the past few years the theory that player power rules the modern game and that loyalty is a thing of the past has been discussed in pubs up and down the country. Worryingly for us football lovers, there have also been a number of high profile examples where this theory has been proved correct.
This week Sol Campbell announced that he would be suing former club Portsmouth. It is a decision that has been lambasted based on the fact that Pompey are a team in serious financial worry and Campbell is undoubtedly a player who is not cash strapped. Although professionally correct, it is not a moral decision.
In the midst of this negative haze that is descending on the Premier League, who would expect William Gallas to be the one setting a good example for the rest of the League.
Firstly, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This IS the same Gallas whose horrendous tackle on Mark Davies was deemed ‘akin to assault’ by Bolton boss Owen Coyle. It IS also the same William Gallas, whose tantrum at Birmingham two seasons ago, is seen by many Gunners fans as the catalyst to their demise whilst top of the league. However, the news that he has been playing through a serious back injury for nearly the whole season, will be food for thought to all the critics.
Speaking to The Guardian, Arsene Wenger admitted this week that his former captain has been battling through the pain barrier in order to keep the winning mentality at the club going.
“You cannot always play with the same 11 until the end of the season. That doesn’t work. Gallas has played all the Premier League games and once you are in a routine, winning keeps the confidence high. Touch wood, until now he has been clear of injuries.”
Having rested Gallas in the 3-1 defeat to Stoke at the weekend, Wenger is planning to re-shuffle his team for the mid-week crunch fixture with Aston Villa. With Gallas expected to return, Wenger has praised the attitude of his defender.
“We have played him on the limit a few times where we didn’t know before the game how long he would last. He always manages to get through the 90 minutes.”
The Frenchman will be well aware of his manager’s policy regarding contract extensions. Wenger has stated previously that he is reluctant to offer more than a one year extension to players over the age of 30. With this in mind, and the knowledge that his contract runs out at the end of the season, Gallas has shown the determination to prove his worth and hold out for a two-year extension.
Note to Sol Campbell. Take a leaf out of your team-mates book.