Thursday, 23 January 2020 14:07

BUDU’S CORNER: Why Bernard Arthur Deserves Support As He Adjusts To Life At Hearts Of Oak Featured

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Accra Hearts of Oak and Bernard Arthur made such a fanfare of his arrival at the club last year, that it was inevitable if he didn’t immediately live up to expectations, there would be murmurings and discontent. Shameful really.

The poor forward is still only 22 years of age, and with the possible exception of the very best to have had a bright start to their Hearts career, is still some way from the player he will become for the Phobians.
 
He isn’t the first Hearts of Oak player to have an inauspicious start to his Hearts career, and he won’t be the last. The likes of Mahatma Otoo, Kwame Kizito and Samuel Affum all struggled to adapt to a new environment.
 
 Kizito for instance had a rough two seasons, only to come good with great displays in last season, just as a majority of fans- rather than a minority of ultra-critics-were starting to seriously question him. Leonard Tawiah and Moro Abubakar had a similarly uninspired start to their Hearts careers.
 
Bernard Arthur was a remarkable talent in a wonderful Liberty Professionals side, that’s true, but Hearts of Oak isn’t Liberty Professionals with respect. A new club, new teammates, new orientation… 
 
All will take time to get used to, and that’s a precious commodity where Arthur is concerned. In order for him to be giving of his best at the club, he must be allowed some breathing space and not to be suffocated under the huge weight of expectation.
 
Like most Ghanaian strikers, Bernard Arthur is agile, has good technique and is comfortable playing anywhere across the frontline. Unlike most Ghanaian strikers, the Hearts- forward is blessed with the one skill that sets good hitmen apart from great ones- a poacher’s instinct.
 
Possessing an appreciable height and brave, Arthur can hold his own alongside the toughest of centre-backs, but rather than his physique, his guile and intelligent positioning enable him to outwit defenders. His uncanny knack of being in the right place at the right time means he regularly finds scoring opportunities. 
 
With skilful feet and a sharp football brain, he has excellent link-up play and can spot a pass. A willing grafter, he’s also not averse to working the flanks and has decent crossing ability. He loves to contribute in the build-up around the penalty area rather than wait for the ball.
 
He needs to be eased into the system and allowed to develop a new set of skills. ‘The Phobia way,’ if you prefer. On Sunday, social media were awash with effusive praises for Bernard Arthur after his goal and assist against Liberty Professionals- his first for his new employers in a competitive fixture. 
 
There’s an oft- repeated suggestion that the player is a perfect inclusion in the Hearts setup, and that he has the necessary playing attributes to succeed. Aside his on-pitch exploits, he’ll also need incredible mental strength to get through the ordeal of his first season at one of the biggest clubs on the continent. 
 
It’s entirely understandable that he’ll be a little rusty upon his return to the country after stints in Tanzania and Algeria and keeping things a lot simpler than previously. He needs to feel his way back into the team, find his level, remain free of further concerns and then explode into life.
 
There have been plenty of times where players far more established and far older than Arthur have needed more time to adapt and a manager with a greater tactical palate to help them. 
 
Fans and the media are so quick to judge and so quick to make a story where sometimes there isn’t one just to fill column inches or a conversation down the pub, and that can’t be allowed to happen here.
 
 A little patience is required with Arthur, a year to settle into his new life. The criticism he’s getting now from fans aghast that he might have a few bad games can make him stronger, but it could get worse before it gets better.
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