Liverpool’s Jermaine Pennant is a good kid, despite his problems and a talented footballer despite a career that has threatened to derail and spectacularly failed to take off.
It’s easy for critics to lash out at Pennant – he had everything as a young kid – taken to Highbury in 2m deal, bundles of talent and one of the best managers at his side. To mess that up with various disciplinary offenses and to get jailed for drunk driving was one of the dumbest things to do, and that effectively threw his career in a spin until Rafa Benitez rescued him by bringing Pennant to Liverpool.
It’s not fair to blame his ‘rough’ childhood either, where his mother had ‘walked out at a young age’. Many people have it tough as kids; some come out of it stronger, others come out with depression and a penchance for drinking to compensate for it.
The problem here is that these guys are still quite young and immature when money and fame comes there way and not everyone handles it particularly well. And then there’s always the case of personality disorders – people who would get drunk at nightclubs and fall over themselves would never get a second glance from us, unless they are famous and we are going to see them get dragged through mud by the tabloids the next morning.
This time, Pennant was not in trouble with the police (although his mate did get arrested), and overall this will do nothing apart from create a minor embarrassing moment for Liverpool and Pennant. This won’t damage his chances for England either, which were pretty poor to begin with. The only way Pennant would get in trouble is if he fails to give 100% on the pitch for Liverpool, and while he may have a tendency to drink too much, Pennant knows that his chance with Liverpool is bigger than the breaks he’s had before – if he screws this up, it’s all downhill from here.
But seriously – getting drunk and not being able to stand up at a pizza takeaway? That’s hardly a bad thing, let alone a crime.