PREM ACE’S BATTLE

PREMIER League star Michail Antonio has revealed he is in therapy after starting to hate football. The post PREM ACE’S BATTLE appeared first on H-Metro.

May 19, 2024 - 09:40
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PREM ACE’S BATTLE

PREMIER League star Michail Antonio has revealed he is in therapy after starting to hate football.

The £85,000-a-week West Ham and Jamaica striker, 34, told how he even prayed he would get injured so he did not have to play.

Antonio, who reveals how personal traumas caused his mental anguish, said: “I just started disliking the game. I began therapy because I was really struggling.”

The West Ham star says his mental health battles left him unable to celebrate the club’s epic European win last year with team-mates — and he slept instead.

In a brutally honest interview, the star says he even hoped for an injury to prevent him from playing.

He believes his problems partly stem from being betrayed by school friends and splitting from his wife.

Antonio — who was called up for England before he chose to play for Jamaica instead — says he expects to still be seeing his therapist for another two years because it has changed his life.

The London-born star — known for his happy public persona — revealed his mental turmoil in a searingly frank interview with telly presenter Jake Humphrey and author Damian Hughes.

He told how everyone associated with West Ham was enjoying wild celebrations last June after they won the Europa Conference League final — their first major trophy in more than 40 years.

But Antonio — the club’s all-time leading Prem goalscorer — was so drained by off-field events he fell asleep on the coach back from the stadium in Prague then went to bed in his hotel room.

He recalled: “I was going through my divorce and stuff, and I honestly couldn’t get my head around it.

“After we won, the whole team went out, the gaffer went out, got steaming, a couple of boys didn’t sleep for two days, just got drunk for two days — I was asleep on the coach and went back to the hotel.

“I was just mentally drained because of everything that was going on outside of my football and then I went back to the hotel and went to sleep while everyone was out partying.”

It was six months before he began to appreciate the enormity of the Hammers’ brilliant 2-1 win over Fiorentina. He said: “It wasn’t until probably December where I was in a better place where I was like ‘Oh my God, I’ve won a European championship’.”

In an interview available to hear on today’s High Performance podcast, Antonio said it dawned on him he had lost interest in football during a match in December 2022, as his form began to nosedive.

He said: “I think we even won the game, but I didn’t have the best of games.

“And I was just like to myself, ‘I’m not enjoying football’. During the game, I was like, ‘I’m really not enjoying this’.

“I just felt quite negative. I’m a very positive person myself.

“I didn’t score from December until I think it was March, April time. And I just felt, like, run- down.

And then I went away with Jamaica because I was enjoying football with Jamaica for some strange reason. But I actually prayed for an injury.

“I was like, ‘I just want to get injured, I want some time off’.

“And then I went away with Jamaica and I did my medial (knee ligament, in November 2023).

“I was thinking to myself, ‘I’m 33. I can’t afford to be performing this way, otherwise I’m not going to get another contract’.

“So, it’s all those things that spiral through your mind. You’re thinking, ‘Is this the end for me? Is this my football career over?’”

He said his football problem was primarily down to getting such short breaks from the game he has been involved in for 16 years — and the constant scrutiny.

And his troubles were worsened by separating from his wife Debbie Whittle, 34, who he married in 2017.

He said: “I just started disliking the game.

“But because football’s just constant, you’re constantly just in it. As soon as your life depends on it, as soon as you have people constantly berating you and criticising you, it becomes a job.

“So, it doesn’t matter how good it is, it doesn’t matter how much you love the game, it becomes an actual job for you.”

Antonio said he sought help around Christmas 2022 — seeing a few therapists before he found one he liked.

He had spoken to club doctors and physios, and West Ham and the PFA also had specialist counsellors available. But he wanted someone independent and so he started paying for his own.

The father of four said: “I started therapy because I was really struggling. And how I grew up, it was never a thing. I thought therapy was for crazy people. But therapy changed my life.

At first it was awkward, I’m not going to lie. You’re sat in the room, someone was there and goes, ‘How are you?’ — Sun.

 

The post PREM ACE’S BATTLE appeared first on H-Metro.

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David Lee Munemo David Lee Munemo is a rising Zimbabwean journalist with a passion for making complex news discoveries accessible to the public. Driven by a belief in the importance of information communication, David's work tackles a variety of news fields, from groundbreaking entertainment research to the latest political news.