The United youth players are presented with a picture of Lionel Messi in the dressing room. It should have a positive impact on their development.
On November 12, 2014, Lionel Messi showed one of his uncountable strong performances, back then in the jersey of the Argentine national team. In their fourth international match after losing the World Cup final against Germany, the “Gauchos” won a test match against Croatia in London’s Upton Park.
It was Messi who made it 2-1 with his goal. After the end of the game, Messi was seen in a dressing room at Premier League club West Ham United’s stadium in an unusual pose for a superstar: he used a large towel to clean the football boots he had worn in the game.
A picture of exactly this scene hangs in the dressing room at Manchester United’s youth academy. This reported the Timeswhich published a report on the youth work of the Red Devils in 2018.
The report also provided the explanation as to why exactly this picture of Lionel Messi is hanging right there, in the dressing room of the United academy: to see Messi cleaning his shoes himself is said to teach United’s youngsters humility and down-to-earthness. If one of the greatest players wipes the dirt off his shoes himself, then the United youth should also adopt this attitude – and not simply leave the dirty clothes and shoes lying around in the dressing room after a training session or a game.
Carrick: McTominay as an example of humility
As a positive example that this unusual approach with the Messi picture in the dressing room really leads to the desired result, the Times including Scott McTominay. The 25-year-old Scotsman went through all of the Red Devils’ youth teams and should therefore have seen Messi’s picture in the dressing room quite often.
“McTominay still leaves his car at the front of Carrington by the youth academy and not in the first-team car park. The talents see that too. They also see Paul Pogba sauntering over to his old coaches. They sense there’s humility and dedication required to make it to Manchester United,” reports the Times.
Not only the newspaper had words of praise for McTominay: Ex-United player Michael Carrick also liked his behavior on and off the pitch. “All the glamor that can affect young players these days doesn’t seem to interest him very much. You can’t live like you’ve had a great career before you even started it,” said Carrick.
And even if you haven’t just started a world footballer’s career, but are living through it, you can still remain humble: the less than glamorous Messi picture in Manchester’s youth cabin shows everyone who takes a look at it.