By 90Min
October 28, 2017

Mental health issues are becoming increasingly prevalent in today's game. With more and more players and coaches speaking out about the pressures of football, it has become a topic of serious discussion. Most recently, Newcastle Keeper, Rob Elliot opened up about his difficulties at boyhood club Charlton.

In support of the Movember Foundation, Elliot opened up about his own mental health issues and recalled a time where he suffered a 'breakdown' during training.

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The goalkeeper maintained a policy of keeping his problems to himself as a teen and would often conceal his off-pitch struggles from his managers. 

Elliot recalled having to look after his family, with most of his wages going to a house he had bought with his mum, who had divorced from his dad. 

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There were times, the keeper claims, where he was so hard pressed for money that he could not get to training. This resulted in him 'bunking' the train and getting caught, which led to him being summoned to court.

In the midst of this, the commitment of the Magpies shot-stopper came under criticism from his bosses. Ultimately, the shock of such claims led to, what Elliot claimed, was a 'breakdown' at training.

Elliot, now 31, revealed: “I was not earning very much at the time, and all my wages were going on the mortgage. Then my car broke down and I couldn’t afford to repair it.

“So I ended up bunking the train to training because I didn’t have enough money — I was in trouble, going to court.

“Alan Pardew was the manager at the time and called me into his office.

“I had a good relationship with him, he’s a good guy who always looked after me.

“But he was like, ‘I think your problem is that you go home, your mum makes your tea, you have a nice easy life at home and I don’t think you really know what it’s like’.

“I remember thinking, ‘Is that what people really think of me? That’s not who I am. I’m doing everything I can to help my family’.

“I do remember it really upsetting me for a long time.”

Elliot is just one of the many footballers who has spoken out against mental health issues in recent history. With players such as Stan Collymore, Rio Ferdinand and Aaron Lennon being in the news regarding their own struggles.

Now, the Newcastle number 1 heaps praise onto the Movember foundation as they look to raise awareness about the problem of mental health amongst men.

He also claimed: “I was working hard in training, travelling two hours home every day because I lived further away, and I was thinking, ‘All this is going unnoticed'.

“I might have even had a bit of a breakdown on the pitch one afternoon.”

Elliot finally opened up about his problems, but It wasn't until one of the goalkeeping coaches at Charlton noticed Elliot seemed unsettled and asked what was wrong.

This was a conversation that changed his career and that he would wish other men would have as he claims: "From realising no one really understood what I was going through, I was then able to talk to Woody about it and he talked to the manager.

“Then the situation changed drastically. That changed my career at Charlton. If I’d have gone home and not said anything to him, nobody would have known and maybe I wouldn’t be a pro now.”

Elliot does admit that he still worries about his future, as he claimed: "One of the things I worry about is, ‘Am I going to be able to provide for my family for the rest of my life?’

“I’m very lucky that I’ve got to a good stage with my football and I do earn good money — but I might not have a job in three years. What am I going to do if I can’t get a club? I’m skilled for nothing. You see stories of lads who end up with nothing and lose everything.@

Elliot also addressed the issue of other footballs facing similar battles. Earlier this year Stan Collymore wrote in the Mirror that he felt "isolated' when talking about his mental health issues.

The Keeper finally added: "If you don’t feel right in yourself, that’s OK, we all feel like that sometimes.

“I can promise you that as Premier League footballers, we all have the same insecur­ities and we all worry about the same things that anyone else would.

“So don’t think there is something wrong with you for feeling like that — because there isn’t.

“Just make sure you speak to someone because it definitely will help make you feel better.

“Tell the people you trust and love because they will help you.”

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