Is this important?

My tutor used to go through this with me but I could never count in my head and play at the same time without messing up, I still can't.

When I was learning I used to just listen to songs and play them remembering the tune of the guitar throughout and had no problems with that.

I was wondering if I should go back and try to learn it or is it just something taught to beginners to help them?
Well I can imagine it would be pretty distracting trying to count in your head all the time...just tap your foot or bang your head and feel the beat without saying "1,+a2+a3" in your head.
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