Tottenham: Richarlison mental health struggles 'not uncommon' in football, says Ange Postecoglou

Tottenham: Richarlison mental health struggles 'not uncommon' in football, says Ange Postecoglou

Tottenham head coach Ange Postecoglou says mental health issues are "not uncommon" in football after Richarlison's candid comments about his own struggles.

Richarlison this week revealed that seeking psychological help had "saved his life" and said he wanted to "give up" after last season's winter World Cup.

Postecoglou described the forward's comments as "brave" and believes by speaking out Richarlison will help others in a similar position.

And the Spurs boss believes there are many in the game who are "struggling" but have not gone public in the same way.

Richarlison has opened up on his recent struggles (AFP via Getty Images)
Richarlison has opened up on his recent struggles (AFP via Getty Images)

Asked if Richarlison's comments had made an impact at the club, Postecoglou said: "No, and I’ll tell you why, because it’s not that uncommon. It’s not, not in my experience. They’re human beings. But for the most part, it’s always dealt behind closed doors.

"That’s why it’s always really difficult for your guys [the media] to do your job because you never have all the information and you never will.

"There is so much that goes on at football clubs. If you could just expand that out to your life and just treat a football club like any other industry, you’ll realise that in every other industry you’ve got people struggling with things.

"Football is no different but we’ve got to put a strong curtain up and it all gets hidden behind there. I guess [Richarlison's situation] is striking because players or managers or people involved in football haven’t come out publicly before.

"But I can assure you, no greater but no lesser part of society, there are problems that players and people involved in our industry deal with. The amount of money you have in the bank balance or your fame doesn’t shield you from that."

Postecoglou has not spoken to Richarlison specifically about his issues and says he would not feel comfortable in counselling players unless he could directly relate to their concerns.

"I’ve never felt a reason to [speak to him about it]," the Australian added. "I’m reluctant to speak about specifics but if anyone came to me with an issue my first inclination would be to try and help them.

"Whilst I’m wise beyond my years I don’t have a handle on everything in my life. Like all of us I’ve got my own demons that I need to deal with at different times.

"So I’m reluctant to offer advice unless I feel really comfortable it’s in a space where I’ve got some experience. Most of my experience tells me to direct them to people who can really help them in that situation. Whatever advice I give I try to do with a balanced view of what the person needs.

“From a football perspective anyway, my main bits of advice to him were more around get your body right because I knew he was struggling with his body at the time. When you’ve got things that become overwhelming, just chip away one at a time. It will help you rather than tackling it all at once."

Richarlison has scored nine goals in his last 13 appearances for Spurs and credited therapy, as well as pelvic surgery in November, with his uplift in form.

The 26-year-old is pushing for a return to the XI when Spurs resume their push for a top-four finish with Saturday's visit of struggling Luton Town.

Asked if Richarlison's performances would keep getting better now he is feeling freer mentally, Postecoglou said: "It’s hard to say because I think part of the challenge is understanding that the problems we have are not that unique and we can still perform, provided we get the right help and support.

"But it doesn’t guarantee anything because whether it’s Richy or anyone else, I guarantee there will be another challenge along the way somewhere. Hopefully what you learn is that with the right support, whether that’s addressing it yourself as an individual or seeking help, there is a way forward.

"But there’s no guarantees of anything. For me, if you want to guarantee a performance, train well and do all the right things on and off the field, prepare yourself well, and you give yourself. Chance to play good football."