Homesick, unused, forgotten - Rodriguez was never good enough but flawed regime to blame

Friday 20 January 2017  35 Comments  [Jump to last]
Phil Kirkbride on Uruguayan misfit, Leandro Rodriguez, one of Everton U23s' forgotten men.

» Read the full article at Liverpool Echo

Reader Comments (35)

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Colin Glassar
1 Posted 20/01/2017 at 21:54:38
Terrible, terrible read. We sometimes make fun of these young players without having a clue what really goes on behind the scenes.
Ian Jones
3 Posted 20/01/2017 at 22:38:35
Very true, Colin. There are no doubt many more in the same boat.
Alexander Murphy
4 Posted 20/01/2017 at 23:26:51
In the eighties I worked in London. I wanted abetter job with better prospects, better money. Every night I wrote five letters to companies, some wrote back politely. Most never bothered. One offered me a job and I took it.

First morning, not even lunchtime one of the old hands said he'd have to let me go, I wasn't up to speed. I told him that I was staying cos he had not hired me.

It was two days later when the director who hired me turned up. To her credit she admitted that they had taken me out of a job. She kept me on. I was on the same money but I got all of the shit jobs. The local lads were lazy nuggets but I worked my arse off.

She was as good as her word and I got paid the rate she'd agreed. I wasn't progressing and after 8 months I'd had a thorough bucketful of the sly lazy cockney nobs that I worked with. I got a job back near home (Liverpool).

That experience trashed my career. Completely. After that I just took work that was steady. The experience crushed my ambitions.

We all know that young footballers get paid Princes wages. But they really are just kids. Sometimes we need to realise that these are just poor kids clinging to a dream. When they fall out of favour they are rarely if ever told why.

Managers in any industry can replace one operative with another. But not to explain why is bloody criminal. Football seems to be the worst sport for this.

How many kids could turn things around if the managerial system at a wise club just spelled stuff out to their starlets.

When I read about EitC I always hope that the fine principles are transferred back into the football development academy. As they are just kids.

Only the strongest survive. True. But only the wise create true strength.

Alan J Thompson
5 Posted 21/01/2017 at 02:39:17
Someone on another thread about signing a youngster used a term I strongly dislike: "No-Brainer", with reference to being able to on-sell talented youngsters acquired from other clubs. In this instance I tend to think that this term has another and opposite meaning and wonder what exactly the club does for these kids.

Wasn't there a similar case earlier this season with a youngster going to St Patrick's Athletic?

Good luck to Leandro for the future.

David Ellis
6 Posted 21/01/2017 at 05:40:56
I'm not sure there's anything in this article that is really a criticism of the club – other than the headline. We thought he would be good enough. We hired him. He wasn't good enough so he doesn't get picked (and if we did pick him then someone else wouldn't get picked – simply transferring the problem to the other sod – football unlike other industries is a zero sum game in terms of playing staff).

The article doesn't say anything about what the club did to help him integrate – maybe nothing – but the article doesn't shed any light. It suggests the club is to blame for hiring in the first place because he wasn't good enough, but this is nonsense, we gave him a chance and the club can't completely predict who will work out well; we have to over-recruit at that age.

I feel sorry for the lad but I'm not sure what the article is really getting at. Maybe he'll get another job in England if he doesn't have work permit issues; otherwise, I hope the club will pay for his flight back to Uruguay where he can go back stronger and wiser to a club there.

Dermot Byrne
7 Posted 21/01/2017 at 07:43:01
Once again, football taken out of it's wider context.

So this lad probably on wages you don't get, is not good enough, has been injured and isn't been picked.

Then let's look at lad on who came from Afghanistan or Syria, is working picking vegetables and, surprise surprise, also isn't told why he hasn't been promoted.

I feel sympathy for any young person who is far from home and homesick (so the Echo says a tad creatively with no quote). But poverty and misery are relative. Phil wrote this article in a bubble - something Premier League journos constantly do.

I don't believe nobody at the club at his level speaks to him. Does Koeman? Maybe not but the CEO at my place doesn't explain to me why I am not part of the senior management team.

So in the end this was/is a failed dream for a young lad. But bet he can still pay the rent.

Colin Glassar
8 Posted 21/01/2017 at 07:49:17
David, I don't think the articles intention is/was to criticise the club, it's just a story about a young boy who's dreams have been shattered.

For every youngster who "makes it" there must be thousands who don't and for those who leave their homeland in search of glory at a tender age it must be particularly difficult to admit failure.

I remember a documentary a few years ago about young African lads who were given trials with European teams. They had to pay their own way and if they weren't accepted they had to buy their own ticket home. The problem was, most of them couldn't afford the ticket home and were stuck in places like Moldova, Turkey, Ukraine etc... basically living on the streets.

Ian Bennett
9 Posted 21/01/2017 at 08:39:42
Not a great situation, but all he has to do is ask for his deal to be terminated. I am sure a compromise can be found between the two parties with some give and take.

The big shame is the lads that have trained and binned off at 16. They've sacrificed a lot training, 3 plus times a week out of parents pocket and who have fallen behind with school.

Dermot Byrne
10 Posted 21/01/2017 at 08:48:21
Good point Ian. But estimated wage of £8k per week on a footy data site may make him reluctant !
Brent Stephens
11 Posted 21/01/2017 at 09:29:44
If the lad feels a level of "pain" because of his situation, then, regardless of his salary level, I feel for him. Seems no blame on the club or the lad. One of those things. Wish him well.
Rob Dolby
12 Posted 21/01/2017 at 09:35:57
I am failing to see what the issue is. A lucky lad won the lottery by being plucked from the Uruguayan 2nd Division earns a relatively big money transfer to the English Premier League.

18 months later things havent worked out as planned, he is still getting paid handsomely. He will get a transfer to a lesser club for another couple of years and if things don't work out the same will happen again. There would be a queue a mile long if you asked someone to replace him in his current situation.

This happens at every professional football club in world football. Back in the real world most people are clinging onto jobs that they hate and have no prospects in. I have little sympathy.

Eugene Ruane
13 Posted 21/01/2017 at 09:42:32
My mate's son was scouted by Blackburn at the age of 12. Then he was at City, then Liverpool. By 15 he was all footballed out and said 'don't want to do this no more.' He knocked (playing) the game on the head completely and became a normal teenager.

Now at 18, after 2 years without kicking a ball, he's just started playing again for a local side but isn't interested in the pro side of things (I don't doubt him for a second when he says, re clubs, "They're all a shower of shit-houses, they don't give a fuck.")

He's learning a trade now with his dad (french polishing) and seems loads happier. As much as we all think (given the chance) we'd do anything to be in that position, it's not for everyone.

Wherever Rodriguez ends up, hope it works out for him.

Chris Gould
14 Posted 21/01/2017 at 09:47:14
Agreed, Rob.

If the kid feels homesick then he can go home. As others have said, many kids get let go from academies at every age group and their dreams are crushed. At least Leandro has been paid handsomely and can go home a relatively wealthy man. He is also in a position to move to a level more suited to his ability, maybe closer to his family and friends.

I feel more sorry for kids that love the club, come up through the academy, and then get dropped at 18. All of the years of sacrifice and nothing to show for it.

The fact is that all kids and their parents know the risks. Football is a business and can be ruthless. The kid was given a once in a lifetime chance, experienced life at a big club, trained in the best facilities, got paid thousands a week... but he wasn't good enough. He is a very lucky boy.

John G Davies
15 Posted 21/01/2017 at 09:48:37
It's a cattle market, Eugene. Scatter gun approach from these clubs. Ruthless in their dealing with kids with dreams. Your mate's lad looks like he will be fine.

The problem is with the kids who neglect their education because they, and in some cases their parents, convince themselves they will make the grade. Only to be shattered when the knockback that 99% of them get comes along. Like you, I hope it works out for the kid.

Liam Reilly
16 Posted 21/01/2017 at 10:06:42
This was discussed recently on another thread.

Quite simply the academies are made up of a few youngsters with potential and the rest are just there to make up the numbers, otherwise who are they going to play with/against?

I know a lad whose eldest son was recruited from Ireland to Liverpool but he was nervous about letting him go alone; so the clubs answer was to bring his younger brother too. Not that he had any chance and this was made clear; but at least the eldest wouldn't be lonely.

Dermot Byrne
17 Posted 21/01/2017 at 10:14:16
The kid is 24. Not a kid any longer.

How about an idea that all Premier League players are forced to put 30/40/50% or similar of wages aside in a trust fund with 50% of sign on fee. Say until they are 24 years old. At the wages he is on x 15 months + 10% of transfer, this "poor lad" would have 𧻲,000 + interest to help him cope. My figures may not pass an audit but see the idea?

The Echo could have focused on a local teenager EFC or LFC dropped. But that could be construed of being critical of the finances of our Premier League clubs. Tabloid crap, that paper these days.

Mark Rimmer
18 Posted 21/01/2017 at 10:23:22
I can't feel sorry for the lad, he earns my yearly wage in two weeks. It didn't work out at Everton but he's being paid handsomely for his time. If he's homesick... go home.
Paul Thompson
19 Posted 21/01/2017 at 10:57:55
As one or two others have said, this is not really about the merits or otherwise of the academy system. It's more about recruitment and scouting.

I accept that all clubs take a punt sometimes with a lot of unknown factors. But at the time I thought this was an odd and risky choice – an obscure league and some extremely modest achievements. I wasn't surprised when it didn't work out.

I do feel sorry for the lad, who obviously needs to go home, with hopefully some lessons learned and a little more cash than he would have had normally.

Phil Sammon
20 Posted 21/01/2017 at 11:25:08
If in my mid-twenties I was 'marooned' in Uraguay earning � per week playing footy...I think I'd be okay with it.
Dermot Byrne
21 Posted 21/01/2017 at 12:06:45 24 I would have just been lost for things to do !
Derek Thomas
22 Posted 21/01/2017 at 12:11:51
Liam @ 16; This is nothing new for the rs, may not be standard policy for every one, but iirc, In the early '70s they signed the 'New Best' who went back homesick...or something similar and instigated this policy.

It worked wonders for them. Chester had a CB called (Richard?) Money... big things expected etc, they signed Rush more or less as a make weight to keep him company... The newspaper headline said... 'Liverpool in Rush for Money' they never change do they.

Eugene Ruane
23 Posted 21/01/2017 at 13:33:02
Phil 20 – 'If in my mid-twenties I was 'marooned' in Uraguay earning � per week playing footy I think I'd be ok with it.'

They wouldn't have let you in – under a little-known Uruguayan law, you have to be able to correctly spell the name of their country before they'll allow you to work there.

(I bet Rodriguez can spell England...)

Dermot Byrne
24 Posted 21/01/2017 at 13:49:42
£1000 PW I'd accept the contract in Charruan Eugene.
Alan J Thompson
25 Posted 21/01/2017 at 14:55:44
I agree with your posts, Eugene, but would he know the difference between the UK and Great Britain?
Tony Abrahams
26 Posted 21/01/2017 at 15:08:57
I think the point of the article, was to point out the flawed regime of Everton, under Martinez?
Phil Sammon
27 Posted 21/01/2017 at 15:57:38
Wouldn't want to deprive you of your precious 'U's' Ugene.
Harvey Miller
28 Posted 21/01/2017 at 16:51:05
Michael O'Brien
29 Posted 21/01/2017 at 18:08:02
Alex (#2) – great post.
Julian Exshaw
30 Posted 21/01/2017 at 18:33:28
Conor McAleny is another who comes to mind. He never really got his chance. Luke Garbutt looked good when he had his spell in the team under Martinez. But where are they now? Wigan on loan? Do they play regularly?

These lads are sent out on loan, sometimes never to be heard of again. We never really know if it turns out to be a lack of talent and commitment or the wrong attitude. Whatever it is, it is sad to read stories like these. Not sure if the club has done anything wrong though.

Clive Rogers
31 Posted 21/01/2017 at 20:21:23
Julian 30,

McAleny is actually still at Everton, but has only played a couple of games for the U-23s from what I can see. He was at Wigan till the end of last season.

Andy Crooks
32 Posted 21/01/2017 at 20:45:34
Good points, Eugene.

A close friend a number of years ago played in the Irish league. He was a centre half and was fast. He had a good attitude and, it seemed to me, had it all before him. He could have been a top player.

Anyway, he was given the chance to move to Sheffield Utd who were higher than they are now. He turned it down and quit football. He said it was not what he wanted to do. Me and some mates cursed him, berated him, said he was fucking shameful, wasting talent we would die for, said he would regret it.

I met him before Christmas after many years. He is an electrician, getting by and happy. No regrets, none at all. Life is strange.

Dave Abrahams
33 Posted 22/01/2017 at 00:18:44
Alexander (4) liked your story, I've always believed that there are more lazy people in work than out of work, I've seen utter snides get on while good honest grafters got nowhere. At least you had a good go Alexander.
Jerome Shields
34 Posted 22/01/2017 at 20:26:55
Good luck.
Mick Davies
35 Posted 23/01/2017 at 01:48:31
He moved to Everton along with Funes Mori, so it's not as if he was alone. He's now 24. so was about 22 when he came over of his own free will. He's being paid well above the average wage (and probably even more so in his own country) and doing very little for it. He has free access to gym facilities etc and gets to kick a ball around for a few hours a day, then has the time and money to do what he wants.

Contrast this with much younger lads who are put on the jobless scrapheap, have no other choice but to join the army, are then posted thousands of miles away, being shot at bombed, for a minute fraction of the wages Leandro picks up?

Now I don't know if the problem is his lack of ability or maybe he just doesn't train hard enough or take in advice, but either way, he will have an agent and they can provide a legal team to sever his employment and he's free to go home with plenty of bunce in his pocket; unlike those young lads who aren't allowed to go home when they want – they'd be in the glasshouse if they tried that

Marc Carran
37 Posted 01/02/2017 at 15:36:42
Money can't buy you everything, money can't always make you happy, he is a human being just like me and you and he has feelings and highs and lows just like anyone else. Yes, he's in a privileged position but you can't blame him for the professional game being like it is.

Mick Davies (#35) – Just because he arrived at the same time as Funes Mori, it doesn't mean they're bezzie mates or something. Besides the fact that one played in the first team and the other in the Under-21s or reserves.

And you used a very silly example there "have no other choice but to join the army"? The current climate is indeed terrible but that doesn't mean you're pushed to join the army; it's a choice, just like any job.

Most footballers are working class folk are they not? I'm also sure he knows he's in a privileged position but that doesn't mean he has to be an emotionless robot.

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