Success at Barça was an amazing surprise explains World Cup captain
A footballer’s ability to change is key for success. One minute you're starting, the next you could be on the bench. Top players look to take advantage of any playing opportunities. Gio van Bronckhorst destroyed Arsenal’s Euro dream as he went from unused sub to Champions League winner.
When Giovanni Van Bronckhorst signed for Arsenal from Scottish club Rangers, the Dutchman was seen as an 'Arsene Wenger type player'. Athletic, technically good on the ball with an intelligent tactical brain. He could be used in any role down the left side of the pitch in defence, midfield or even attack.
Firstly though, he was seen as a central midfield partner for the powerful Patrick Vieira. This adaptability allowed the Gunners to use him in different systems when required. Good levels of success were had as he won a Premier League title, 2 FA Cups & a community shield. He was on a high for most of his stay there. However, a cruciate ligament injury halted progress.
PA ImagesPerformances by Gio at Arsenal were very good. Sometimes things happen that are out of a player's control, like getting injured, can result in being put on the bench. Understand this is going to happen sometimes, don't accept that it has to stay that way though. Work hard, play well in training and a return to the starting line up will happen.
During a period of good form, he got injured, keeping him sidelined for some time. As van Bronckhorst worked with the physio team, he could see that Arsenal were playing well without him. Performances of England full-back, Ashley Cole and the Brazilian, Gilberto Silva ensured the Gunners continued to win games on the road back to the starting eleven, even harder.
PA ImagesGio and fellow Dutchman Dennis Bergkamp, take a seat on the Arsenal bench. Even on the sidelines, it's important to stay involved with what's going on in the game. Watching your potential opponent whilst checking for opposition weaknesses helps with focus, making adjustment to match pace easier when called upon.
SITTING IT OUT
It would've been easy for the Dutchman to think that he'd never get back into the Arsenal team. Head down he just looked at the situation and continued his goal of getting fit for selection regardless. When the medical team finally gave Gio the green light to return to full training, it wasn't long before Wenger had him back involved with the match day squad. This time though, he had to settle for a place on the bench.
When I’m dealing with an injured player I get them to set-goals & targets for progress.Dr.Adam Owen - football4football Head of Performance
Again, this disappointment of not being picked made him more determined to keep his playing standards up. When he played a reserve game, it was treated like a first team game, when he trained his work rate was high and his technique sharp. The form of Cole and Gilberto was still making him wait though. He understood the manager couldn't change a winning team and appreciated his teammates were playing well. He just kept on going.
PA ImagesFrank Rijkkard knew what he was getting when he signed Gio van Bronckhorst Aware Gio was a very good player, he just needed to know that van Bronckhorst was in good shape after being left out at Arsenal for so long. The training levels that he'd kept up, meant he was ready for his opportunity to start a football revolution at Barcelona.
Little did he know that over in Spain, a manager with plans of glory was keeping an eye on what was going on. That manager was Barcelona's Frank Rijkaard. Van Bronckhorst was known to Rijkaard, he played for him in the Dutch national team. Rijkaard knew how good a player van Bronckhorst was but needed to know that he was fit and able. Barcelona approached Arsenal to enquire about taking him on loan.
Almost instantly, Rijkaard insisted the Catalan giants cancel the loan and buy him. His good attitude and hard work had paid off. He had kept his game in top form and his fitness at peak levels. Even van Bronckhorst didn't think it would be a team like Barcelona coming in for him, nor could he believe how fast the transfer happened. All he did know was that he was ready for the opportunity.
Being injured is frustrating for a player. You need a strong mentality, especially when your team keeps winning without you!Dean Gorré - football4football Head of Development
The Barcelona you have seen over the past few years, sweeping all in front of them and playing some fantastic football, started with a 2005 La Liga title (which they had not won for the previous six years) followed by a 2006 Champions League Final win (they had not won Europe's top prize for 14 years).
PA ImagesWinning the Champions League final was a deserved reward for Gio van Bronckhorst. After having the disappointment of being left out of the Arsenal team the previously, he worked hard and earned a move to Barcelona. When they won the Champions League, he was the only player to feature in every game for the Catalan club. It was the first time in nearly 15-years that Barcelona were once again, kings of European football.The Wait Is Over!
This success was the beginning of a period of domination in both Spain and Europe. When they triumphed in 2006, guess which Barcelona star was the only player to appear in every game during that Champions League campaign? A certain, Giovanni van Bronckhorst.
What's more, the team they beat in the final...none other than the Dutchman's former club Arsenal.
READY & AVAILABLE
Football can change at any given time. Modern day players are now part of squads. Success needs to be immediate. Most clubs have top training facilities & experts to get players in peak physical condition. The difference between a good player & a top player can come down to the basics of always working hard in training or games. As players are virtually products these days, the need to be an attractive option for their current club or their next one comes down to mentality. It's tough out there!