PlayStations, personal stereos, third-level education and traffic — John Giles’ big four inhibitors of sporting talent. The chief obstacles and distractions standing in the way of the street footballer. Responsible for the underperformance of some European nation at every major tournament since around 1998.
As Gilesy’s contemporary Johan Cruyff once put it: “I trained about three to four hours a week at Ajax when I was little. But I played three to four hours every day on the street. So where do you think I learned to play football?”
But with the battles against gaming, streaming, education and motorised transport slipping away from us, is it time to identify a fresh target? Do we simply blame the parents? Must we carry this can too?
Meath GAA club Navan O’Mahonys made the news this week for imposing a sideline ban on mobile phones at underage training, beginning at ‘nursery’ level.
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