Wayne Rooney: Why do top players stay at the top?

5 things you can learn from Wayne Rooney's column on Ravel Morrison

“He struggled with lifestyle and his environment”

You will no doubt have seen extracts from Wayne Rooney’s Sunday Times newspaper column where he spoke about Ravel Morrison and why he felt he didn’t make it to the very top.

It is a question that so many people ask.

Why do some players fulfil their potential and others don’t?

Ravel Morrison is probably the perfect example of this.

So many of his ex-teammates and managers have said that he is the most special talent that they have ever seen.

Rooney himself describes him in the article as being better by a country mile than Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard when they all came through the youth system.

Add that comment to Sir Alex Ferguson telling Jamie Redknapp that he is the most talented player he has ever worked with.

High praise has never been far away when describing his talents.

Although Man United, Lazio and West Ham are just 3 of the clubs he has been at Morrison is now 27 and hasn’t played 100 games in his career.

I know lads who have played 100 games by the time they were 20.

So just why is it that some players make it to the top and stay there and some don’t?

I am going to give you 5 takeaways from Wayne Rooney’s column that give an insight into his take on this question.




“Ravel was better than any of them by a country mile”

Having talent isn’t enough to stay at the top level.

That is only one part of being and staying at the top.

Mindset, nutrition and how you conduct yourself away from the game are just 3 examples of other things you need in your locker.

Passing, shooting, heading and tackling is just one part of the jigsaw you need to complete to maximise your potential and stay at the top.




“He struggled with lifestyle and his environment”

Now I don’t know Morrison’s lifestyle and his environments away from the game so I can’t comment on those directly.

However, who you surround yourself with and the things that you get up to off the park not only affect your image but they also affect your performance.

Being a top footballer is a lifestyle. You can’t cut corners.

You will have to let friends and family down at times you may even have to cut friends off due to them being a negative influence.

Just look at the lifestyle and environments Cristiano Ronaldo has built for himself, it’s a winners lifestyle.




“He’s proof that you can’t escape the fact there are guidelines every player has to obey in professional football.”

The more you come away from the guidelines the harder your life becomes both on and off the football park.

Success is the result of a process.

If you don’t follow the process the chances are you won’t get success.

I always say to clients more important than being committed to the outcome that you want is being committed to the things you need to do in order to get it.




“Then you think how far you can go by being ultra-professional. Gary Neville for instance.”

There are players who don’t have a great deal of technical talent but still forge a career for themselves at the top.

I don’t put Gary Neville in that bracket as undoubtedly he had talent.

He will have walked out onto the park each week confident and certain of what he was going to do and how he was going to perform.


He knew he had ticked all the boxes he needed to in preparation for the game.




“Sir Alex Ferguson used to say the hardest thing in life is to work hard every day.”

Hard work is a skill and all skills can be worked upon and improved.

The clue is in the title though.

Hard work is hard.

A lot of players want to shirk away from hard work and hide.

That is where your chance to separate yourself from the pack comes in.

When you combine high skill with hard work that is where the sweet spot in creating success is found.




If you have followed any of my content up to this point you will no doubt have heard me say:

Success leaves clues

Not only has Rooney given you an insight into what it takes to be successful he has also given you the flip side of what it takes to blow your potential.

Hopefully, you can now see and appreciate that what you need to do in order to push on from where you are and stay there isn’t solely based on what you do at 3 pm on a Saturday.

Being a top footballer is a lifestyle and you need to be committed to that lifestyle in order to maximise your potential and the rewards that come with that.

Drop me an email at john@footballmindset.co.uk and let me know what is the takeaway that most struck a chord with you and why


My new book is now with the editor and proofreader so progress is being made and you’ll be one of the 1st to know where and when you can get your hands on it!

“He’s proof that you can’t escape the fact there are guidelines every player has to obey in professional football.”

By John Johnstone 8th May 2020