Criticism can be constructive or destructive, depending on the context. It takes a strong personality to both give and take criticism in a constructive way, and according to Georginio Wijnaldum, this is precisely how the team interacts around the training ground.
“We just have a group that is like friends. With each other, it feels like family,” Gini told the club’s official website. “Maybe sometimes we have to be fair with each other and say something which the other person might not like.
“But that helps us also to be a better team because we all expect from each other that the person you play with is giving 100 per cent. We, as a team, have to make sure he does it.
“We’re just honest with each other and try to help each other out to do as good as possible.”
A policy of honesty can quickly turn ugly. Well, it could, were it not for this squad of mentality monsters. Instead, they seem to take criticism in stride, and try to do better next time.
It helps that there is world-class talent all over the pitch. If Virgil van Dijk tells you you’re out of position, it’s easier to take than from Harry Maguire, for example.
This also demonstrates how there are vocal leaders throughout the squad, each with a thorough understanding of the system, tactics, and quality needed in order to take the team where they want to go.