The great Jackie Chan takes the credit for the truism: “Great success comes only with great ambition.”
Wise words in a week when Patrick Roberts opted to chop another year off his career by re-signing on loan with Celtic.
An inconvenient truth it may be but he has chosen to step back into his comfort zone rather than showing a belief he can push himself to a higher level. The mutual affection is one thing but how does this benefit a 20-year-old who should be desperate for new challenges?
Champions League games aside, the Englishman has sidestepped the prospect of going one on one with some of the best left-backs in Europe. The well established trend of talent flowing away from Scottish football has been bucked by Roberts and it raises a question mark.
An assessment of his previous 18 months in Glasgow is of it being a slow burner, lightweight, in and out of the side before an impressive burst late on.
But why turn down the chance to play a season in La Liga with Girona or head to France with Nice instead of plying his trade at Firhill, Dingwall and the plastic of Hamilton and Kilmarnock?
Absence makes the heart grow fonder but the clamour from Celtic fans to get Roberts back said everything about their starvation of genuine star names being recruited.
And this has been a week which couldn’t have highlighted better the climate change within football for speculating on young talent.
PSG-bound Kylian Mbappe is just 18 but apparently he’s worth £166million. His Monaco pal Thomas Lemar, 21, is valued at £92m.
Roberts will know Leroy Sane well from Manchester City and the 21-year-old’s development has set the bar for where his mate’s ambitions should lie.
Bayern Munich’s £28m recruit Renato Sanches is younger than Roberts and has accepted the challenge of a season at Swansea while 20-year-old Ousmane Dembele has signed with Barcelona for £96m.
These are the fees being paid for top young players – and they’re operating in a different footballing stratosphere.
Bluntly, our game is where bigger names arrive for career rehabilitation or last resort.
It is a better place with someone as good as Roberts but the suspicion remains that it’s a development stunter for a kid who should be
showcasing his skills in football’s biggest arenas.
As Paddy and his pal Kieran Tierney are about to discover, Paradise is no place to reach for the stars.
Will Patrick Roberts ever break into Pep Guardiola’s City team?
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