I would have been about seven years old when the formative years of my competitive football education began. I was playing in the local leagues around Manchester playing against lads from tough areas who had been taught they had to fight for everything.
I developed a mechanism so that whatever mistakes I made I would bounce straight back. Whatever was happening off the pitch I could put it to one side and maintain my form. Call it mental resilience or a strong mind but that is what we mean when we talk about experience in a football team.
It is one of my pet hates when I see players who have agents who do everything for them. They don’t know how to set up their own bank accounts they don’t know what they are spending their money on and they can’t make their own decisions.
A coach once told me there are four factors that determine a players’ performance: his tactical awareness his physical condition his technical ability and his mental strength.