Ron Atkinson knows a thing or two about dealing with players who fall out of line, so the former Wednesday manager has admitted that the Owls’ current boss Carlos Carvalhal handled perfectly the situation regarding Fernando Forestieri earlier this season.
Amid interest from other clubs at the beginning of the campaign, Forestieri refused to join the squad for their match against Norwich City at Carrow Road. It lead to a fine from the club and a clear response from Carvalhal that Forestieri was going nowhere.
Atkinson, who worked in Spain and also managed notoriously difficult Paolo Di Canio at the Owls, said he would have acted in the same way as Carvalhal did.
“I don’t think there’s too much difference in how you would react (compared to his time in management),” he said.
“A lot depends on how much you want the player to stay.
“I think if you want to keep him and he refused to play, you discipline him, hit him in the pocket and just tell him ‘you’re not going, make your mind up, you either knuckle down here and we’ll see what happens later, or you just rot.’ That’s the only way you can deal with the situation. Say for argument’s sake, you think you can take the money and you have someone else lined up you might handle it differently, but you can’t be seen to be showing a weakness to the rest of the camp.”
Atkinson, who has just released a new autobiography entitled, The Manager, added: “There are different ways. You could do it by not even saying anything but I would be angry and make him aware of it.
You have to judge how much use he is to you. Is he fannying around or has he made up his mind, while I’m here I have to play? If he is, use him. You play him and get the maximum out of him. I was never a big fan of putting players out of the way, or in the reserves because you are paying attention to someone who isn’t doing it for you.”