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Heads Up: Man City youngsters reveal pressure points

10 Feb 2020
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City's Academy prospects spell out the importance of asking for advice and sharing their feelings as part of the Heads Up campaign

To suffer a long-term injury is every professional footballer's nightmare.

And to be sidelined before your career has even started is a worry faced by young players on a daily basis.

For others, being fit but not selected leaves them feeling under pressure.

Lewis Fiorini, Louie Moulden and Beth Smyth are among six Manchester City prospects to have opened up and spoken about this as part of the club's support for the Heads Up campaign.

Spearheaded by HRH The Duke of Cambridge, Heads Up is an initiative aiming to use the influence and popularity of football to encourage conversation around mental health issues.

Sharing feelings

And for the Man City prospects, the opportunity to share their feelings proves welcome.

"I think that [injury] is probably the biggest thing, because the one thing you're here to do is taken away from you for a long period of time," says Fiorini, a midfielder for City's Elite Development Squad (EDS).

For Smyth the prospect of being available but not being selected has impacted on her personal wellbeing.

"I've gone through periods when I haven't been starting," she says. "It's been quite hard, especially at the start, but my coach has been really helpful in terms of I can speak to her."

Wellbeing screenings

Man City offer wellbeing screenings every 12 weeks. giving the players an opportunity to pinpoint and discuss areas where they may feel under pressure.

"Don't be embarrassed about it," adds EDS goalkeeper Moulden. "Everyone has problems and everyone's problems affect them in different ways."

Fans are encouraged to visit HeadsTogether for tips on how to #KickOffAConversation about mental health.

See: How clubs backed Heads Up Weekends

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