Reece James shares a diary entry he wrote earlier this month – it’s heartbreaking to read.
Today, the world is improving by talking about mental health and our daily struggles. There’s still a way to go. There’s still a stigma there, and in the football world, perhaps there’s more work to do than in other sectors.
Chelsea’s Reece James has recently shared a diary entry about his injury battles and how that can impact him mentally. It’s a difficult read, describing the reality of what it’s like when a player has a long-term injury.
James has missed a lot of football through various injuries this season, resulting in 25 games missed.
Every footballer will face the challenge of overcoming an injury in their career. For younger players, though, the challenges are perhaps more rigorous.
Image: Reece James’ diary entry
Reece James shares one of his diary entries showing the struggles of injuries pic.twitter.com/utOuJPVOrs
— Pys (@CFCPys) May 29, 2023
James touches on the perception of a footballer’s life by saying: “The outside world think this “Football life” is the perfect life. Well, let me tell you, it’s far from that.”
Footballers get judged regularly, and for those not fully invested in the sport, that judgement unfairly intensifies. Yes, players get paid handsomely, live in nice houses, and drive expensive cars, but below the surface is a darker side to football.
When suffering a long-term injury, a player will be isolated. They will train and go through rehab alone, a crippling scenario to face when they’ve become accustomed to feeling part of something.
James is 23 with a long career ahead of him, but having injuries so early in a player’s career can knock their confidence and leave them feeling lonely and often not knowing what the future holds.
Mental health and how a player feels is still somewhat of a taboo subject, whether due to injuries, abuse on social media or something else. Players should be able to talk about how their struggles impact them and receive the appropriate help.
One reply on Twitter summed the judgement up perfectly: “With the amount of money he’s earning? I’d rather earn the same and sit on the bench or be injured.”
The money argument is used as a stick to beat a player with, when that usually has nothing to do with it at all. James is an example to other players to open up about their feelings and not bottle things up because of the backlash they may receive.
We’ve seen players speak up in the past, such as Ben Chilwell and Paul Pogba. The reality of a footballer’s life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s tough and unforgiving, a demanding career with little sympathy shown when struggles do arise. That has to change in the future, and James will undoubtedly feel stronger for sharing how he feels when going through the toil of a long-term injury.
James will now look ahead to pre-season with yet another new manager Mauricio Pochettino and hope to be ready to impress the Argentine when the players report back from their summer break.