• Premier League

Suarez has 'mentality of a child'

ESPN staff
May 1, 2013

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has been described as having the "mentality of a child" by Henk Veldmate, the man responsible for kickstarting the Uruguayan's career in European football.

Veldmate, FC Groningen's sporting director, recruited Suarez at the Dutch club in 2006 after seeing him in action for Uruguay side Nacional.

Speaking on a BBC 5 Live Sport documentary, 'What's Eating Luis Suarez?', to be aired on Wednesday night, Veldmate admitted the 26-year-old's ten-match ban for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic came as no surprise.

"He's a grown up person but also, in the way he likes playing football, he sometimes has the mentality of a child," Veldmate said, according to the Sun.

"That's the way he enjoys playing. If you compare the mentality and attitude to Dutch players, then in South America it's dead or alive. To do the best for you family - it's a way of life and a way of surviving."

Veldmate first saw Suarez after travelling to Uruguay to scout another player and immediately snapped up the former Ajax striker after watching him for just 15 minutes - which included a series of trademark dribbles, a goal and a dive to win a penalty.

The Groningen director insists Suarez's style hasn't changed.

"He had everything you see today - he scored a goal and did some fantastic dribbles," Veldmate added. "Sometimes you think he is lucky with his dribbles - he starts something and you think it is impossible. But in the end it works and he creates a chance and scores a goal.

"He dived to win a penalty, so all the things we see in Luis' potential we saw in that 15 minutes and most importantly we saw he was a winner."

Former Groningen midfielder Hugo Alves believes Suarez's bite on Ivanovic was born from the striker's instincts in the penalty area.

"Luis is the type of player that once inside the box he is capable of anything to score a goal or to get the ball from an opponent," Alves said. "Obviously this kind of thing shouldn't happen, cannot happen. It's happened to him. He does anything to win. He is a winner.

"And because of his way of thinking, if he is in the heat of the moment, full of emotion, he makes these kind of mistakes. In a middle of an emotional game, he can vent it in a wrong way."

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