Doncaster Rovers: Young players are too ‘soft’ says Wellens

Richie Wellens
Richie Wellens

The one thing that can be guaranteed when Richie Wellens plays is that someone will get an ear-bashing.

Cultured midfield play and a brilliant eye for a pass are attributes which the Rovers midfielder is celebrated for.

His temperament on the pitch, less so.

If a team mate makes a mistake, particularly one which directly affects the 35-year-old, they will soon know all about it.

Via his trademark honesty, Wellens says his temperament came from his football upbringing. And he believes demanding players are key to success for any club.

“Every time I cross that white line I’m willing to do anything, absolutely anything to get three points,” Wellens said. “The game has changed. When I was a kid, 18 or 19 going into the first team, I used to look at the characters and how they’d treat me.

“If I gave the ball away, they were on me. I made sure I did not give that ball away.

“Times have changed now. The kids get away with murder. They’re soft.

“That’s probably why you don’t see as many English kids go through and make it. Whether it be this club or a lot of other clubs.

“It’s because they are well treated all the way through then told to go and deal with 6,000, 10,000, 20,000 people. If you can’t deal with it, people will let you know.

“Once it starts involving people’s livelihoods and jobs being on the line, that’s when it means the most.

“When I get on the ball, I want to be under pressure to not give the ball away. You need people to put you under pressure for you to get the best out of yourself.

“Every single successful team, you need in it six or seven players who demand off each other.

“For me, we’ve not had that at this club for a few years.”

Though he concedes he may have to change his approach if he were to become a coach in the future, Wellens says taking the fire away from his approach to his playing career would be foolish.

He said: “When you’re playing it’s tough. For me, when you take that away from footballers it’s not the same.

“Wayne Rooney is a great example. When he’s playing with his temperament, there’s no one better than him. Now he’s just calmed down a bit, he doesn’t look the same player.”