by Toby Belshaw
Most of us would sell our granny’s to simply have a shot at playing professional football let alone to be talented enough to be called upon for our country. So why is it that the majority of footballers don’t feel the same way?
Our very own (for how long?) Dexter Blackstock is one such individual. Not too very long ago he was hailed as a talismanic striker, represented England at Under-21 level and was seen as the future of Queens Park Rangers Football Club.
However an interview given to the London Metro paper has shown that he has obviously lost touch with the reality of professional football. Loaned out to struggling Championship side Nottingham Forest, Dexter said;
‘I wouldn’t say I have a point to prove (to Sousa) I’m by far and away QPR’s top scorer.’
He is correct with his stats as he is seven goals ahead of second place Heidar Helguson who has five, however when you delve a little deeper his comments become all the more worrying and out of touch.
A hungry, keen striker should have netted double from the chances Dexter has spurned this season. He also hasn’t netted for QPR since January 10, and to this date that is his solitary goal in 2009.
Dexter’s first goal came against League One strugglers Swindon Town in the League Cup and five have come against the two lowest teams in the Championship, Charlton and Southampton, only three goals scored have been against teams currently above QPR in the table.
Then of course there is the fact that he has been on the bench of late with fellow strikers Samuel Di Carmine and Heidar Helguson preferred up front by Paulo Sousa.
However the biggest concern for Dexter should be that QPR have allowed him to be loaned out to Nottingham Forest for the last six games of the season, surely he should therefore not only have a point to prove but also should be fearing for his livelihood?
It has always been my opinion that a footballer should use each training session and each game as an opportunity to prove a point to those in charge and his peers. Whether that be to try and push for a place in the first team, to cement a place, to show that although you haven`t played well that you are constantly trying to improve.
Alarms bells should surely be ringing for Blackstock if a team, who haven`t scored regularly all season, feel that he is surplus to requirements.
Unfortunately, the way the game is played now means that such ambivalence to working hard is now prevalent, especially amongst the younger players. Stuart Pearce recently said that he was made the player he was because he had a job as an electrician before turning professional and he always strove to improve for fear of not being good enough.
This was after England Under-21’s lost with a lacklustre 2-0 defeat to France despite most of the players having a wealth of Premiership experience.
Recently players such as Robinho and Micah Richards have been accused of not putting the effort in and living the high life in spite of poor performances on the pitch. Wigan’s Amr Zaki has been outed just this week as having been fined more than most people’s annual salary for failing to turn up to Wigan training sessions after international duty.
This is a man who is on loan and should be playing out of his skin in order to get a good contract for himself. Yet Steve Bruce has admitted he has fined Zaki on four separate occasions for his behaviour. And of course there is Frank Lampard whose self-proclaimed ‘love’ of Chelsea didn’t stretch to accepting a £100,000 a week contract as it was apparently far from enough.
As for Dexter, well he has 6 games to put in the effort to perhaps earn himself another chance at QPR or another club. Whether he takes it will be up to him and will depend on taking his head out of the sand and realising that he can not coast along in the football world no matter how good he thinks he is.
Should he perform well for Forest he may well find that those at QPR who pay his wages, both in the boardroom and on the terraces, will want answers as to why he failed to do it for much of the season.
But then again I am sure he doesn’t believe he has a point to prove, after all, he is QPR’s top scorer.
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