Layth Yousif’s latest Rewind column on Bellerin’s attitude and BT Sport’s Rocky and Wrighty film
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Read Layth Yousif’s latest Rewind column as he discusses Hector Bellerin’s attitude, the brilliant BT documentary ‘Rocky and Wrighty’ and the fact current players need to understand the ethos of ‘Remember Who You Represent’ – and his views on people who didn’t applaud the late, great David ‘Rocky’ Rocastle’s memory.
Buy him a pint:
You could argue Theo Walcott’s persistence in scoring Arsenal’s first equaliser on Sunday was worth a shout. But seeing as the players couldn’t get worked up by it then neither can we. Ditto Shkodran Mustafi’s second half goal that ultimately won a point for Arsene Wenger’s beleaguered men. It says a great deal if Alexis Sanchez has to urge his teammates to celebrate the ball hitting the back of the net against a team led by the legendary Pep Guardiola. Lads, I know you’re down but it’s at times like these you earn your stripes by showing character. Those fabled teams that the late, great David Rocastle played in did that. As the best captain in Arsenal’s long and illustrious history Tony Adams, said of that time: ‘Play for the name on the front of your shirt and they’ll remember the one on the back’.
For this observer the stand out player on Sunday was City’s hugely exciting youngster Leroy Sane. His pace and movement, touch and technique were a joy to behold. So was his finishing. The way he took an extra touch to effortlessly glide around an onrushing David Ospina was simply marvellous, and a joy to watch. Full credit to Pep for encouraging Sane’s undoubted talents - following a sticky start that could have broken lesser players.
Get your coat son:
We really need to start an investigation called: ‘Dips in form from players who start wearing their hair in a bun’. From late 2015 to last autumn right back Hector Bellerin was arguably one of the best right backs in the country, if not across the continent. His pace, allied with what many thought was a cool and calm temperament allowed him to learn vital defending techniques on the job – rather than wait for a certain maturity by going on loan like so many of the lads from the academy.
It is of course expected a teenager in the white heat of the Premier League and Champions League is allowed a dip in form during the dreaded second season syndrome. So for a player to suffer so dramatically a regression in form and in confidence is absolutely allowed.
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But a perceived dip in attitude? Never. Your second season is when you work even harder. When you’re not an overnight success anymore is when you knuckle down and say: ‘I’ll show you.’ Not tie your hair up in a bun and stroll around the park thinking you’ve made it just because Barcelona say some nice things about you. We’ve seen it all before. We’re bored of it.
Come on Hector, knuckle down, start working harder than you did in your breakthrough season. And get your hair cut. Because if someone as talented as you gets outmuscled – and more worryingly - outpaced by a marginally slower speedster than yourself in the precocious Sane - but someone who simply wants it more, then if your coaches won’t tell you then we will: Sort yourself out.
A chiding has to go to anyone who didn’t sing – or at the very least applaud – the memory of our beloved David ‘Rocky’ Rocastle. If singing’s not your thing then just clap. But to do nothing on seven minutes against City is not only unacceptable but plain wrong. Even if you’re simply a casual visitor to the Emirates it’s not right you don’t join in the respect for our fallen Gunner.
I saw many people sit on their hands not having the foggiest what was going on. We’re not the NBA or the NFL where people blithely walk around during play as I’ve witnessed in the flesh at New York’s Madison Square Garden for a New York Knicks basketball game – or worse still completely ignore what is going on during the match. We’re The Arsenal. And we remember our heroes. If that’s not to your taste I humbly suggest you take your half and half scarves and start following basketball instead.
Because David Rocastle was, is and always will be an Arsenal legend. And deserves to be treated as such – by each and every person in the Emirates on what was the 16th anniversary of his tragic and untimely passing.
I was lucky enough invited to the premier of the utterly wonderful BT Sport documentary Rocky and Wrighty on Friday night at the Emirates. Huge kudos to BT Sport for the brilliance of the film. Representatives of the hugely dignified Rocastle family were in attendance, as was the irrepressible Ian Wright.
I tweeted afterwards this wonderfully moving, poignant, powerful, desperately sad yet incredibly powerful and uplifting film was required viewing for each and every single Gooner on the planet. It was an evening of remembrance for Rocky, just as it was a celebration of both working class lads from humble council estate backgrounds who made it at The Arsenal through sheer force of personality and strength of character – not just talent. For talent without hard work and mental strength is worth nothing.
It was a reminder of the mantra Remember Who You Are, What You Are and Who You Represent. It was also a reminder to some of the gilded players in our current team. As someone tweeted during Friday’s trip down memory lane: Arsenal existed before 1996. Should be required viewing for the 2016/17 vintage to realise what our club is about – and how lucky they are to play for the red and white of The Arsenal.