Atlanta United forward Andrew Carleton (30) works the ball during the first half in a MLS soccer game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday, July 21, 2018. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Atlanta United’s de Boer to Carleton: Character as important as talent

In their first conversation since last week’s irresponsible behavior before the Toronto game, Atlanta United manager Frank de Boer said he spoke to Andrew Carleton on Monday about how character is as important as talent.

De Boer said that Carleton, who trained with the first team on Monday, apologized for not having his passport when the team met to fly to Toronto before last Wednesday’s game.

“You have to learn from it,” de Boer said. “Ninety percent has to come from yourself, your inner-energy, motivation to get the most out of yourself. The last 10 percent we can help you with.

“Hopefully, he understands it.”

De Boer said he wants to see dedication from Carleton for more than just a two-week spurt. Carleton, a 19-year-old native of Powder Springs, has two starts in two-plus seasons with Atlanta United.

“You have to keep it up every time and challenge yourself,” he said. “He has to prove himself and show himself off the field.

“After training, what do you do? Do you go to the gym or in 10 minutes are you in your car? That’s how eager you are to reach the highest level. It’s sweating to be a professional. Your career is very long still, but you have to put much more effort in it. Not only think your talent is enough. Talent is important, but it’s more important that you have character. Combined with talent, you can be a very good player.”

As punishment, de Boer assigned Carleton to travel with Atlanta United 2 for its game at Loudon last week. However, de Boer said he told Atlanta United 2 manager Stephen Glass to let Carleton warm up, but not to play him.

“He had to feel  that it’s not acceptable what he did,” de Boer said. “Now it’s over and he understands it and now he has to respond, of course, to himself, to his teammates and to me.”

Atlanta United will play at Chicago on Wednesday.

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