Johnny Cantor: Zamora lazy? Anyone who plays for Hughton has to work hard

Bobby Zamora celebrates a goal for Albion last season. Picture by Angela Brinkhurst

Bobby Zamora celebrates a goal for Albion last season. Picture by Angela Brinkhurst

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One of the indulgences of being on holiday for me (no, I’m not unfortunately at the moment) is reading magazines.

You can dip in and dip out and, of course, it is under the guise of being educational and informative.

I know print media is challenging and even this column will appear online as well as in the paper but sometimes reading features is not as enjoyable on the internet and, for me, not as relaxing. Saying that, there are some great pieces online and they are often slightly more wild and wacky than traditional feature writing.

One that caught my eye last week was the piece on Football365 that quoted a Norweigan podcast which included an interview with former Fulham centre-back Brede Hangeland on, yes, his Premier League ‘Lazy XI’!

There were some great players in the team. Emmanuel Adebayor got a bit of a pounding and so did Dimitar Berbatov. Former Seagulls striker Bobby Zamora was also included in the full XI. Now, I’m certainly not here to discuss whether he was or wasn’t but like those others I mentioned Zamora’s record speaks for itself.

There are sometimes just players who are good at what they do and don’t always put in what some term ‘the hard yards’.

That, however, is not something that seems to be tolerated in a Chris Hughton team. After two years in charge, I have now spoken to countless ex-players and pundits who claim to have the inside track on working under the former Spurs left-back.

The one recurring message is if you don’t work hard, you don’t play. The claim that some players are lazy tends more often to surround so-called ‘flair’ players. However, you could not find a harder-working midfielder than Anthony Knockaert.

He has the ability to dazzle but his role in tracking back and providing protection for his full-back is just as important to his manager.

There is no room for luxury players, not in the Championship. If you hold back or take a breather in the intense battles you will fail.

Another example of a club that adheres to the same strategy was last night’s opponents Huddersfield.

Manager David Wagner this week told BBC local radio that fitness was not a problem for his side – and you see it clearly when they play. To me, the Terriers are this season’s Albion of last. People thought they would go away. They didn’t. Huddersfield won’t either, why? Because, like Hughton, Wagner demands 100 per cent in every minute of every game.

There is a huge amount of admiration between the two managers and you can see why. They both want to win but they also want their players to give their all. Do that and they won’t have too many complaints. Do that and they might just both get promoted.

Johnny Cantor covers Brighton & Hove Albion as a commentator and reporter for BBC Sussex Sport.

Follow all the action, home or away, on BBC Sussex Sport or Twitter: @BBCSussexSport or @johnnycburger

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