Ulster flyhalf Ian Madigan spoke on Wednesday Night Rugby on Off The Ball about what affect if any media and pundit criticism has on him.
The 31-year-old former Leinster player said that while he tries to avoid media coverage and criticism of his performances, sometimes it is just not possible.
“I try not to [consume the critical media], obviously when things are going well stuff is going to get sent to you,” Madigan said.
“My mum would send me stuff, like: ‘Oh there’s a lovely article here,’ and she’d send it to me on WhatsApp, it is very hard to avoid it.
“If you want to go down that route of reading the good stuff, when the bad stuff comes, like when you get online, you look at Twitter and that’s when it can have a negative effect.”
He continued to suggest that a little bit of positive and negative media can be good, in order to get a balance and not inflate or deflate his ego too much.
“Over time I have tried to not get too high when things go well, and not get too low, and reading papers and listening to podcasts is definitely tied into that,” Madigan said.
“I have found a reasonably happy balance and I do read some stuff and listen to certain podcasts.”
Although he did say that this was not always the case.
Many young players often do not know how to react to criticism of a negative nature, which Madigan said can affect you at an early point in your career.
“I’m at the stage now where if someone is giving their opinion and it’s negative of me, it’s not going to bother me too much whereas as a younger player it would have,” he said.
Madigan agrees he was too deep
After Ulster’s last-minute victory over Edinburgh in their PRO 14 semi-final, Madigan was seen as the province’s hero due to his calm, collected final kick.
Despite this, Leinster legend Brian O’Driscoll did critique his game slightly the following Wednesday on Off The Ball, claiming that he often played too much off the line and allowed defences to drift.
Madigan accepted this criticism, stating that at some points in the match he was too deep.
“I think that analysis was actually spot on,” Madigan said.
“I looked back at the game and I was going, ‘geez I was pretty deep in certain situations.’
“I have been working on varying the speed and the depth that I am coming onto the ball.
“There were definitely some phases of play that I was looking at it, saying that I was way too deep there.”
Variety is the spice of an attack
The evolving nature of rugby means that both attack and defence is never static within a modern match.
This, as Madigan pointed out, means that often first receivers have to vary their depth and speed when attacking the gain line in order to fool the defence.
“I have been working with Dwayne Peel in varying the depth that I was coming onto the ball,” Madigan said.
“When things were clicking for me in previous years, when I was with Leinster, I was able to play right on the gain line, it was a good asset of mine.
“The way that defences have evolved over the last three or four years, you’ve got outside centres, wingers, fullbacks closing and they’re not doing the same thing every time.
“Sometimes they’ll shoot up on the outside, sometimes they’ll hold back, sometimes they’ll appear like they’re shooting but will actually back off.
“That’s something that Garry Ringrose does very well.”
Madigan suggested that Ringrose’s ability to vary the type of defence he is showing often makes the attack second guess themselves.
“He’s an intercept threat, he’s a threat to come and tackle high, but he’s also a threat to show that he’s going high and then drop back.
“There are just much more changing pictures than there would have been three or four years ago.”
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