Johnny Cantor: Mahrez a perfect example of how want-away players should conduct themselves
So we are two match days into the Premier League. To be honest, not much has happened so far...
Well, apart from champions Chelsea losing on the opening day to Burnley, Manchester United emerging as a title contender, Rooney’s return to Everton (and scoring), several red cards, five teams with no points, some teams with no goals, the transfer window could be moved, oh and some of the best players in the top division seem to have developed strange new injuries amid interest from high-profile clubs with big pockets.
I have to say, I think fans are being short changed with top players missing. Coutinho has a new injury, Costa is probably on the beach, while Van Dyk has been sent to train with the youngsters.
If ever there was an example of how to conduct yourself however, it came last week as Brighton and Hove Albion travelled to the King Power Stadium to face Leicester City.
Foxes’ winger Riyad Mahrez is a wonderful craftsman. Fast, inventive and relentless. He showed all those qualities with the first goal inside 60 seconds! However, he has admitted he would like to leave and join Italian side Roma, who are keen to secure his signature. But the Algerian hasn’t sulked. According to the manager he has trained hard and is devoting every ounce of energy to his game.
Leicester are benefitting while discussions continue between the two clubs. He has seen this as a chance to shine, to show his assets and not to hide in the shadows or attempt to evade a possible injury ahead of a lucrative move.
He may yet get to make his switch and Leicester may get a few more quid but he may stay. If he does he won’t have upset his team-mates. He can continue to work hard with the support of the squad.
As for Leicester’s opponents Albion, they have no points, a few concerns but mustn’t panic. The club are trying to address the issue of pace, speed and more of an attacking threat in the squad with record signing Jose Izquierdo and agreement for Raphael Dwamena. You have to say some new faces already there are taking time to adapt to the pace and quality of the Premier League but they need to settle soon.
It is tough to claw back points in the top-flight and the Seagulls will not want to be left behind. Chris Hughton’s squad have shown resilience in the opening games but in a way they need to re-capture the belief they had that pushed them to promotion.
They must not be fearful. The return of maverick Anthony Knockaert might just be the inspiration they need, starting at Watford on Saturday. It’s only three games and the international break is beckoning but if after five weeks they are still without a point, it will only get harder and harder.
As someone once said, ‘no one said it was going to be easy’ (repeated by my dad throughout my life!) but the manager and players in the last few seasons have shown they have what it takes. Now it is time to believe again.