By Nick Lindo
More Ways Than One
In the early 90s Manchester United fostered an exceptional youth squad.
Six of this squad went on to have particularly impressive careers and you don’t have to be a football fan to recognise the players I’m talking about – Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Nicky Butt, Phil Neville.
But one name few people will recognise is Raphael Burke.
Raphael too was part of this youth squad.
He was considered by the academy staff as a cut above the rest and amongst the most naturally gifted young footballers the club had ever come across.
Phil Neville on the other hand was younger, clumsier and far less talented than many of his teammates.
Growing up playing alongside the likes of Raphael, Scholes and Giggs he knew only too well what he was up against.
For Phil, success would have to be about sacrifice, hard graft and unrelenting diligence. Attributes that, in the end, Raphael never possessed.
While Raphael still went on to have a perfectly decent career as a youth coach at Bristol City F.C., it’s Phil Neville who, with the others listed above, formed the core of an unstoppable Manchester United team that won just about every trophy going.
I expect that I am not the only SCA newbie to feel incredibly nervous about the year ahead.
My main concern being that any natural talent I do possess may be massively overshadowed by my peers.
(And the scholarship entries have done nothing to calm my nerves.)
But like Phil did, I think it’s important to recognise that the success of the next 12 months or so relies on what, aside from natural ability, can be brought to the table.
I take solace from the fact that it’s not solely raw talent that will help us lift trophies.