Can a player ever be bigger than the squad? Don’t get me wrong, Samir Nasri is a fantastic player and I really enjoyed watching him this year for Manchester City. So is Didier Deschamp’s decision to leave him out of the French squad for the 2014 World Cup the right one? Anara Atanes (Samir‘s girlfriend) certainly doesn’t think so… That’s an understatement. Check out her Twitter:
“**** France and **** [Didier] Deschamps! What a s**t manager!”
We have countless examples of great players not making a particular team for the benefit of the squad as a whole. It’s a bold statement for a manager to make. A statement that says: “I am in charge and in control.” Sir Alex Ferguson did it and he is considered the greatest Premiership manager of all time.
It has been widely reported that Samir has not been a team player for the French. Taking this into account, it’s my view that the decision of Deschamp to leave Samir out is an attempt to build team chemistry. Phil Jackson, the former Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles coach who won the most NBA championships in history says he was always looking for “what creates the bonds” between players that can meaningfully separate them from their competition. Deschamp may be emulating Jackson with this move.
Scott Williams, Executive Director of the Center for Innovative Management at Wright State University, defines team chemistry as, “the composition of a team and the relationships among team members.” In essence, it is the dynamic that arises from the different qualities each team member contributes and the interactions of team members with each other.
Leaders, in this case Deschamp, must take responsibility for building and managing the team chemistry. It’s clear that you cannot simply put the most talented players on the pitch and expect results. Exceptional talents often carry big egos and sometimes you must sacrifice talent in order to avoid power struggles and team fragmentation.
So is the decision to leave Samir Nasri out of the French squad the right one? Only time will tell.