If Johan can find talent in one young man when so many were eager to toss Pep aside then surely we can find one player being overlooked at our clubs.
If we listen carefully, the story of Pep, it is the story of a wise coach who looked at the qualities of a player that all others overlooked. It is a story that places intelligence above physical prowess.
How many players have we dismissed as easily as FC Barcelona executives were about to do with Pep?
“As a player at Barcelona, they wanted to get rid of Pep because they thought he was a lanky great beanpole who couldn't defend, who had no strength and couldn't do anything in the air. So he was blamed for all the things he wasn't good at , while I thought they were all things he could learn to do well.”
“What all those people didn't see was that Guardiola had the fundamental qualities needed at the top level: speed of action, technique, insight. Those are phenomena that very few players exhibit, but in his case they were present in spades.”
“As well as his footballing qualities, Guardiola has a very strong personality and an intelligent mind . You can talk to him about any subject under the sun.” – Johan Cruyff
Johan valued the player and the person. And that person who he nurtured into a midfield mastermind led FC Barcelona to a historic four consecutive titles and its first Champions League trophy. That same “beanpole” with nothing to offer the youth academy would return to win more trophies than any other coach in the history of the Catalan giants.
If a scrawny player who was to be dismissed can be a shining example of how to develop a talented, intelligent and responsible footballer, perhaps there is a lesson in here for all of us who are on ffootball coaches, Scouts or Agents worldwide.
We have an opportunity to rethink talent with a little help from Johan Cruyff.
Do we have the courage to do so?