Six years ago "The teenager was, according to [Sven Goran] Eriksson, the outstanding player of his age in English football." Apparently he's now checked into the Priory for mental health issues which contributed to the career issues.
Media training etc makes young players interviews so dull these days, but I guess it serves the purpose of protecting them as well as the clubs, and with recent cases (this, Balotelli, Gary Speed) it's clear to see that something needs to be done to support players mental development too. They get a whole lot of pressure dumped on them from an age where they're still developing mentally and physically, and I think clubs try to support them but I wonder if more could be done to get it right.
Or should it be? Is it the club's responsibility? My previous employers openly acknowledged they put too much pressure on me, but they certainly didn't offer me any 'fluffy' support; should football be different?
I'm not really sure what my point is in this, but I think it's a sad case which asks questions about the support offered to young players.
Sad ... but it's not that uncommon. People tend to 'ignore' mental illness, but it hits more people than you think. I think it's somewhere about 1 in 4 of us that will experience some form of mental health problem in a year (a year - that means that we're all likely to experience some problem in our lifetime).
Luckily (in a way), at least footballers have the resource to tackle the problem (both financially and medically) given their environment - as long as they are able to see that they have a problem in the first place.How many footballers have we seen that have developed addictions etc over the years - even the Saintly Sir James Greaves had a drink problem.
I just hope the man realises that he MAY have a problem and tries to get some help. Recognising that a problem may exist is the first step in curing any illness.