There’s an adage in the football world that goes as follows… If You’re Good Enough, You’re Old Enough. This basically serves to quash the theory that one can be too young to perform at the highest level. Many coaches wish to preserve the mental state of a young athlete by holding them back from major games through fear that it may overwhelm them and damage their potential. However, the football world is proving that this doesn’t have to be the case, and German international Toni Kroos is evidence of this. All be it everybody is different, some young footballers may be able to handle the pressure of a large crowd and pressure situation, whereas some may crumble under the pressure.
There is a definite mindset among most professional athletes, one that separates them from the rest. Many excellent footballers/ athletes never made it as a professional athlete despite possessing more talent than most of their competition. The term ‘single minded’ sums up a young athletes’ mindset, and not everybody has it, despite what they may think. Some people are ‘too nice’, some won’t tread on people in their way, more still refuse to sacrifice certain things in order to reach their ultimate goal. Whatever it is that makes up the steely mind of a successful professional sports person, it is definitely a vital component to becoming a success in your chosen sport.
The Mindset of Toni Kroos…
For those of you who aren’t aware of who Toni Kroos is, let me enlighten you. Toni Kroos is a 24 year old German International Footballer who most recently comprised part of the World Cup Winning Squad in Brazil, and let me tell you, he didn’t just make up the numbers either, he had the most assists in the campaign and scored 2 in the historic 7-1 victory over hosts Brazil! Granted, 24 is not all that young compared to much of today’s footballing cohort, but when you consider what he has achieved in this relatively young football career, it all starts to become apparent!
Already Kroos has won 19 titles, most noteworthy are the numerous Bundesliga titles, a Champions League and now a World Cup. And it’s no wonder he’s won so many things at such a young age when you consider he has been a Bayern Munich regular since the age of 17. He has also made history by becoming the first footballer born in East Germany to win the World Cup…seems like he has a knack of making history.
If you’re good enough, you’re old enough!
Thankfully, over the years managers have taken chances with young talent, giving them the chance to take the step into the limelight and perform on the biggest stage of all. Some fail, crumbling under the pressure and expectation, whilst others either take it with a pinch of salt, or manage to somehow control, harness and channel the nervous energy into positive energy to drive their performance. Kroos delivers all of the skill and attributes you’d expect to see from an attacking midfielder, and this was rewarded at the age of 17 when he was given the opportunity to make his debut for German champions Bayern Munich. In a match that they won 5-0, Kroos came on and assisted in 2 goals, setting up the World Cups all time leading goal scorer Miroslav Klose within just 18mins of his appearance!
What does it take to the best in a sport, I wish I knew, but what is for sure is that talent is just part of the recipe, with this you’ve got to have an indomitable spirit, unwavering concentration, and a presence of mind that is beyond your years. Having just been signed by European Champions Real Madrid, Kroos appears to be doing something right.
Wikipedia, (2014). Toni Kroos. Retrieved 15th July, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toni_Kroos a
"Paul Scholes: Manchester United need Bayern Munich's Toni Kroos". BBC Sport. 22 May 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2014.