Tag Heuer has announced the extension of its contract as official Premier League timekeeper. To celebrate, the watch brand also unveiled a new dedicated watchface on its connected Modular smartwatch.
The new watchface, developed in partnership with the Premier League, allows the user to customise the dial with their chosen team, check match timings, follow matches in real time, and be alerted to full-time scores.
Under the theme of Tag’s slogan, ‘Don’t crack under the pressure’, Ian Wright and Jermaine Jenas speak about their experiences in the Premier League, and reveal how different players cope with pressure.
Jenas feels that some of the players he shared a pitch with dealt with pressure especially well.
‘Alan Shearer used to stand in that tunnel, put us on his back and drag us out onto the pitch at St James’s park like, “You’re not losing today”. And if there was a penalty to be taken or a big moment, he’d step up and score those goals and make it happen,’ says Jenas of his former Newcastle United teammate.
‘With Gareth Bale, it was about expectancy,’ he goes on. ‘It was about him going and achieving it and making it happen. He was supposed to be “the one”, and he progressed and became that player we all wanted him to be, so that’s a different type of pressure.’
Finally Jenas mentions a player who has a reputation as having one of the coolest heads in football – Dimitar Berbatov.
‘I don’t think Berba understands what the word pressure means,’ he says. ‘He’s the most relaxed man I’ve ever come across in my life. If I walked into the dressing room and saw him drinking a glass of whisky, with a cigar, it wouldn’t surprise me. He’s just so cool. He didn’t ever actually do that, I’m just saying it wouldn’t surprise me.’
Wright agrees: ‘When you see Berbatov play you can see that, that’s his demeanor, that’s how he plays. You won’t see him suddenly making gut-busting 50-yard runs, but if you get that ball in to him, you put that ball anywhere in his vicinity, he’s going to control it and make something happen with it, he’s that kind of player.’
Wright says that, unsurprisingly, it is the biggest-name players who have to cope with the most pressure, day-to-day. ‘If you’re talking about pressure on players you can’t look any further than Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. I don’t think that anyone comes under more pressure than those guys, with respect to what they’ve got to do for their teams on a daily basis – that’s pressure like you’d never believe.’
Wright and Jenas agree, however, that in the whole game, managers are under even more pressure than players.
‘We’re in an era now where they’re so scrutinised, every move that they make is under the microscope,’ says Jenas. ‘I think in front of the camera they appear to be handling it OK, but I think you’d have to have a conversation with their wives or their kids at home to see how they’re really handling it when they walk through the door after a loss.’
The 2018/19 Premier League season kicked off on 10 August, so the pressure will already be ramping up for players and managers alike as they compete under the watchful eye of the Tag Heuer timekeepers.