It is amazing how some players careers start. Not everyone gets the chance to come through a youth academy at their boyhood club and go on to become an international superstar. For some players, they start off in the streets of Africa and hope that they can achieve their dream of playing in Europe one day. Both roads to success are very difficult and it takes a special player to start from the bottom and get to the top. That is what Liverpool defender Kolo Toure had to go through.
Speaking ahead of the Liverpool vs Arsenal game on Saturday, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who is the man to give Toure his break in his football career, said on Arsenal.com:
“I am pleased for him (Toure) because he came here completely unknown and made a great career.
“He’s a boy that’s dedicated, has sympathy for everybody, speaks with everybody and loves football passionately so you are happy that he is happy.
“Yes [he is one of my most satisfying signings] because he failed tests nearly everywhere; at two French clubs, at a Swiss club and nobody kept him.
“I kept him here after the tests, so he was not good enough for the smaller clubs but he made it in a big club. Maybe that was his luck as well.
“One of the things that convinced me was his sheer enthusiasm for the game and his huge desire to do well. As you know a successful life is about attitude and he had the right attitude and got the opportunity with us.”
It is interesting to note that nobody wanted to sign Toure before he was picked up by Wenger. I am sure all those clubs who turned him down must be kicking themselves as he has gone on to be one of Europe’s top defenders. In all fairness, some players take a while to mature and when you see them at 15-year old’s, you can not be too sure if they quite have what it takes to make it to the top.
I guess it takes managers like Wenger to be able to identify young talent and be willing to give them a chance. That is something Brendan Rodgers seems to be doing well at Liverpool as the likes of Suso, Sterling, Wisdom and Ibe have been given chances in the first team and hopefully they will go on to be top class players.