They are all around us.
As a player this is something that you have to realise. There will be other players, spectators and coaches who all have an opinion on how you play.
Do you listen to all of these opinions or get on with your game, working hard to become as good a player as you possibly can?
What you must remember is that everyone involved in the game has an opinion, some may be in your favour, some might not, but you can’t dwell on it if their opinion isn’t as favourable toward you as you’d like. There have been many players in the history of the game who were turned down at trials, or released from a club, because they were deemed not good enough.
This news is very difficult to hear. But do you continue to carry on pursuing your goals, or let these opinions affect your next steps?
Some players let this affect them, making them feel that they won’t get anywhere in the game, but there are others who realise it is a game of opinions and continue to work hard, putting them in the best position to realise more opportunities.
And you can see this at the very top level with some fantastic players who have been rejected due to someone’s opinion on their ability.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion but there are plenty of cases where a player has gone on to show that that club, or those coaches, made the wrong decision.
One of the greatest examples is Leicester’s Jamie Vardy, released by Sheffield Wednesday at 16. Wednesday believed he wasn’t of the level required to progress with them at the club, which they are entitled to do. However, Vardy didn’t let this stop his progress.
Dropping down to Sunday league level, Vardy went out to show everyone what he can do, scoring goal after goal and seeing where his ability took him. He eventually signed for semi-professional club Stocksbridge Steels and scored many goals, being one of the most lethal finishers at the non-league level.
The rejection by Wednesday at the age of 16 must have been incredibly difficult. His hopes and dreams were probably hanging on his success at the club, but the club thought differently on where he’d get to. Vardy decided to keep going and keep working hard.
And that is all you can do.
If you continue to work hard and try to better yourself each day then you never know which opportunities you may create. That opportunity might just have someone who believes in you, and their opinion favours you.
Vardy found just that while at Stockbridge and then Halifax, getting scouted by Fleetwood Town and becoming a prolific scorer at the lower league levels.
A great achievement in itself.
Leicester then decided to spend a million pounds on a player, a player not deemed good enough at 16 years old.
Vardy’s story at Leicester is then a fairytale, winning the Premier League in 2016 while leading the scoring charts on numerous occasions.
He has been an undoubted success at Leicester, and at international level, becoming one of the best strikers in the league.
I’m sure now that Vardy’s coaches who released him at 16 would be absolutely delighted for him, but their opinion at that time didn’t pan out how they thought it would.
Even Harry Kane has been rejected, getting released from Arsenal at a young age.
And that is what all young players must realise; opinions are opinions, and someone’s opinion of your ability does not dictate how good you are, or how good you’ll become.
Their opinion will only do that if you let it affect you.
I’m sure now, if you asked Sheffield Wednesday, that they would love to have Jamie Vardy playing for them.
So realise that opinions are out there, and they may not always be what you want to hear. But listen to their reasons, work on the areas that you need to and go out there and continue to create your own opportunities. You may just then come across who rates you very highly.
But it doesn’t just stop there with Vardy, he isn’t a one off story.
West Ham’s Declan Rice is another great example.
Rice was at Chelsea, with his great friend Mason Mount. Mount was kept on by the club but, at the age of 14, Rice was released, deemed not of the level for Chelsea Football Club. After leaving Chelsea, Rice then signed for West Ham, where he is now. Rumours are circling that Chelsea could re-sign him for £50 million plus.
What a great way to show that opinions aren’t the be all and end all.
As a footballer, it’s important that you know opinions will always be there. But don’t let them define you.
People will have an opinion on your performances and ability, with some of those opinions not being what you want to hear. But if you get turned down for a trial, or released by a club, then don’t think that is the final answer.
One coach’s opinion will be different to another. What you have to do is keep working as hard as you can until you find that opportunity.
That opportunity where the coach or club have the opinion that you will be a great success.
If you work hard, stay resilient, and determined, then you’ll realise that there are plenty of opportunities out there for you.
Opinions can change too, so never let what someone has said define you as a player.
Know who you want to be and where you want to be, and work to get there.