WHILE Sean Dyche admits he wants to add more leaders to his squad over the summer, he believes footballers, in general, have become quieter on the pitch.
The Clarets boss feels certain outside influences have made players more insular, and the game almost more individual, taking away from the team element.
Previous manager Eddie Howe accepted his team was too quiet, and, after inheriting that group of players, Dyche concurs: “They are a quiet group but you can’t instil or change people’s personalities.
“You can affect them, I think. If the fire’s burning you can make it burn stronger or brighter, but if the fire’s not there I don’t think you can do anything.
“We all have different personalities. David Beckham’s one of the best examples of that. I don’t think he was vocal on the pitch, but he did all right! I don’t see Lionel Messi screaming his head off too often ... he does all right too!
“For every manager out there, there is a thirst for leaders and people who will stand up and be counted, to put it in another phrase. I think we’ve got those players, they just do it in different ways. We’re just trying to motivate them to do it more.”
But he accepts it’s not a huge concern: “I don’t think it’s just this group.
“I’ve been around football a long time and I think year on year players have been getting more insular, slightly quieter, the way they go around it becomes a more individual sport in a way, fitting into a team, whereas it used to be a team sport fitted around individuals.
“It’s more now an individual kind of feel but with a team aspect. Probably some of the affects of agents has something to do with that - not all of them, because there are some very good ones out there.
“But some make it about the individual. To balance that, quite rightly so in a way because when I was playing, players didn’t get recognised always for their contribution via contracts and the openness of possibly moving.
“But it has slightly changed the team mentality because everyone has got their part in the team and every advisor etc will make it that your part is THE part. I can’t remember the first agent I came across but I was pretty long in the tooth by the time I did.”
While players are quieter once they stop over the white line, more and more players reveal more than they ever did via the medium of twitter - with West Brom’s Peter Odemwingie drawing more attention to himself with comments this week.
Dyche’s former charge at Watford, Marvin Sordell, received help from his club Bolton after what became an “obsession” with social networking sites, and Dyche said: “It’s an interesting one. I know the kid obviously. Each to their own. I don’t want our players speaking about important football matters, but if they choose to have a twitter account that’s up to them.
“They are free to live their lives and you just trust that they use it as wisely as the next man. My own worry with twitter, really - forgetting about whether I like it or not - is the governance of it. I think so much can get out there so quickly with no governance, all kinds of rumours get out there.
“On the other hand someone I know who’s a big fan of it says it can quell situations because you can get information out there quickly and calm situations. It’s the ying and yang of it.
“But I think more people, in my opinion, probably don’t use it for the benefit of it - particularly if you’re aiming it at football players or football people because opinion’s so powerful with that.
“I don’t probably think it’s helpful to players, but it’s freedom of choice. The only irony with it is that players as a group - maybe society really - are less vocal in a group and speaking with each other and on a pitch and professionally generally speaking, and yet a lot of them have twitter accounts, so they want to be heard some way or other.
“People want to share their lives all of a sudden. When I was younger people wanted to have their own family life and be quite private within it.”