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Soccer

'It was the greatest exhibition of parenting I've ever seen on a sideline'

In what is quickly becoming a weekly occurrence on Off The Ball's Sunday Paper Review, Wayne Ro...



Soccer

'It was the greatest exhibition of parenting I've ever seen on a sideline'

In what is quickly becoming a weekly occurrence on Off The Ball's Sunday Paper Review, Wayne Rooney's weekly column sparked the interest of the show's contributors. 

"If you had told me two months ago that I would have been taking out a subscription for The Times based on a Wayne Rooney column, I'd have said you were mad."

Nevertheless, this is exactly where Shane Keegan has found himself.

The former Galway United and Wexford Youths manager currently working as an opposition analyst for Dundalk, Keegan found in Rooney's column the essence of a crucial point relating to the development of young footballers.

"I'd be particularly invested in talent development," he explained, "and particularly the role that parents play. I don't think it can be emphasised enough and I'd have it above even a player's talent.

"The role a parent plays in a player's development is absolutely massive and Wayne seems to agree."

Alongside Rooney's lament for the former Manchester United youngster Ravel Morrison and his unfulfilled talent, the column focuses on the relationship between a prospective young player and their parental support.

From being an Everton youngster trying to impress his father, to a Dad of ambitious young players himself, Rooney considered those parents for whom their child's enjoyment is not the primary concern.

"What happens if they don’t score a goal, what happens if they miss a penalty," asked Rooney of the hypothetical journey home after a disappointing afternoon. "Is that parent going to be in the car on the way home saying, 'Why didn’t you do that?'"

In Shane Keegan's experience, the answer is invariably, yes.

"Unfortunately, that is probably the majority of the parents I have encountered in my sporting sphere so far," he explained. "The FAI have started to do a bit around this, but parental workshops where we educate parents on how to help a young athlete is huge.

"I did a piece before myself about a young player at St. Patrick's Athletic and his Dad gave the greatest exhibition of parenting I've ever seen on a sideline one day."

Wayne Rooney

The father of a particularly talented young footballer, Keegan recalled what it was that had impressed him so much.

"In this particular game that I watched," he recalled, "this young fella scored two absolute screamers, got kicked from pillar to post, missed a sitter at the end to win the game. I swear to God, throughout all those various incidents, his father's body language never flinched.

"When the final whistle went, the young fella walked over and the Dad said: "Well done, did you enjoy that? It was a good game." To me, that was simplicity at its best."

Of Wayne Rooney, given the insight he has demonstrated with his initial series of columns, Keegan surmised: "He's potentially going to make a good manager."

You can watch back the Sunday Paper Review in its entirety here

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Colm Keys GAA Gaelic Football Hurling Joe Molloy Rugby Shane Keegan Soccer Sunday Paper Review