Friday 24 November 2017

Gerrard: My career would be over now if I had not used psychiatrist

Steven Gerrard of Liverpool celebrates scoring a penalty against Southampton
Steven Gerrard of Liverpool celebrates scoring a penalty against Southampton

Steven Gerrard reckons his career could have ended a few years ago had it not been for the help of the psychiatrist who will be used by England at this summer's World Cup.

Roy Hodgson confirmed on the eve of England's friendly against Denmark that Dr Steve Peters will accompany the squad to Brazil.

The psychiatrist has an impressive CV having worked with some of Britain's best athletes.

Peters' most recent assignment has been with Liverpool, where Gerrard first came into contact with him four years ago during a troubling time for the England captain.

"I had a career-threatening injury (in the 2010-11 season) called a groin avulsion where the muscle comes off the bone," Gerrard said.

"At the time for six to eight weeks I'd seen three or four surgeons and they weren't really convincing me that I could maybe play again so I turned to him.

"He helps you with positivity, the power of thought, and staying upbeat, that sort of stuff.

"It was a very important stage in my career. I went to see him and I can only speak very highly of my private one on ones with him.

"I read his book and now I basically understand the different parts of the brain, how they work, when they function and why you think certain things, why you bite your children's heads off from time to time, blame (wife) Alex for everything and so on.

"He does simplify things and I am a lot more patient as a person now and I think I've improved as a person. He's also helped me with the game as well."

Gerrard is a big fan of Peters' critically-acclaimed self-help book 'The Chimp Paradox', which aims to boost the reader's confidence and eliminate doubt.

Confidence has certainly been lacking when it comes to England players taking penalties in recent times, but the FA insists Peters has not been solely brought in to deal with the pressure of a spot-kick scenario in Brazil.

England's players will be under pressure on Wednesday night too.

No points are up for grabs against Denmark, but given that this will be the last time Hodgson has a chance to see his charges before he selects his World Cup squad, then a significant number of players need to impress.

Many eyes will be on left-back, where Ashley Cole and Luke Shaw will be given a chance to earn their place on the plane to Brazil.

Of the 23 men going to Brazil there will only be two left-backs, and Hodgson's admission that he does not need to look at Leighton Baines in the Denmark friendly suggests the Everton defender is almost certain to go to the tournament.

That leaves Cole and Shaw vying for one position in the squad.

"I've spoken to Leighton and he won't feature (against Denmark), unless we get an incredible number of injuries," Hodgson said.

"All three of them want to play, but even with substitutions I can't fit in three left-backs.

"It's the right moment in this game to look at one of or both Luke and Ashley Cole, as Leighton has been playing regularly for us.

"The two I need to look at in an England shirt are Ashley and Luke."

Press Association

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