Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett on attitude versus ability – comparing Marko Arnoutovic, Maradona, Gazza and Barcelona duo Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez

Craig Hignett feels the attitude versus ability argument is something of a leveller in the National League.

Wednesday, 21st August 2019, 7:18 am
Austria's Marko Arnautovic reacts during the UEFA Euro 2020 group G qualifying football match between Austria and Slovenia (credit: JOHANN GRODER/AFP/Getty Images).

The Hartlepool United players have had their fitness, desire and ambition publicly highlighted by their manager in the last seven days, having lost three of their opening five National League matches.

With Hignett keen to address the stuttering start to the new season, he continued to delve into the topic of attitudes as a crucial part of the modern game, particularly in lower-league football.

“The higher you go pretty much everyone has the attitude and ability so it becomes more technical but I think at this level it’s a leveller – people with a better attitude will push on,” admitted the former Premier League midfielder.

Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Bromley at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Saturday 17th August 2019. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

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“I think we’ve got some really good technical players but also some with really steely attitudes. Higher up, 90% of them have the attitude, some have got ridiculous technical ability where they’re playing at that level because they’re naturally that good, they’re are the mental ones, the Marko Arnautovics who have unbelievable technical ability but mentally aren’t stable.

“Football has been littered with geniuses like that - Maradona, his technical ability was unreal but you can’t say he was stable, same with someone like Gazza, even Luis Suarez.

“Then you look at someone like Messi, he’s got it but you haven’t seen much of a lunatic streak from him.

“The higher you go the more technical ability does come into it over attitude but at this level, coupled with the right attitude, it’ll take you wherever you want to go.”

Former Argentina forward Diego Maradona (C) celebrates the opening goal during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group D football match between Nigeria and Argentina (credit: GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images).