Danny Rose comments about depression will have struck a nerve with a lot of football fans out there. No matter how much wealth you have or how lucky you are in life, circumstances can conspire against you to put you in a very dark place.
As football fans sometimes we do forget to see footballers as human beings. How they perform on the pitch is the only metric we use to judge whether they are good or bad. It’s easy to spout off on social media or on any website criticising a person’s performance without ever considering the man at the centre of it.
Clearly, our no.3 was going through a hard time of it personally last season. For sure, a lot of the performances on the pitch were likely down to his battle to recover from a long-term injury. It was clear that he wasn’t close to the level he had reached in the previous campaign, but with his admission about his struggles mentally over the last 12 months, it does put things in a different light.
Men generally are not good at talking about their feelings. Especially in football, where tribalism is a key component of fandom, there is always a concern that showing weakness or any sign of vulnerability will be pounced upon. That is particularly pronounced as a player who faces opposing fans every week who can use it as ammunition to mock them. You can see how speaking out would prove even harder.
As fans of this great club, I don’t think I would be alone in saying we’d be fully behind Rose getting back to the top of his game in a white shirt. There have been questions about his loyalty following last summer, and perhaps those questions will still linger.
As fans though, we are human beings as well. On online forums, on Twitter and Facebook, our passion can sometimes go over the top. Passion is good when directed positively but there are times where it can lead to division. Arguments over managers, players and tactics can be fraught. Most of the time, it’s people who generally care about the future club. At the same time though, everyone should bear in mind that when criticising player’s performances, we are not in possession of all the facts.
You don’t always know what they are going through personally or even what they are like as people. Danny’s resolve to speak out does show a man with character and mental fortitude if nothing else. I’m hoping he has a good World Cup no matter where he ends up next season.