Inside Matters: Fowler - Self-belief helped me through hard times

18 May 2020

Liverpool legend reveals how he overcame periods in his career when it was hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel

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Few players had more of an impact on the Premier League's early seasons than Robbie Fowler, but living his dream while playing for boyhood club Liverpool was not always a happy time.

Fowler scored 163 goals during a PL career in which he also represented Leeds United, Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers. But there were occasions when the striker struggled to see a light at the end of the tunnel. 

Speaking in the fifth part of "Inside Matters", a series of exclusive interviews with football stars about the mental challenges they have faced, Fowler revealed the struggles he had while trying to cope with not being able to play.

It is something many of us can draw parallels with during the coronavirus pandemic. 

"We live for games at the weekend and when it's taken away it can be depressing."

Robbie Fowler, Inside Matters

"I wanted to go out there and all of a sudden it's taken away from you through no fault of your own," said Fowler of his problems with injuries. "It was dark times.

"Depression is huge in the game. Years ago it was more common than we wanted to let on. You get to the point where you don't even know what you're training for because there's no light at the end of the tunnel. 

"We live for games at the weekend and when it's taken away it can be depressing."

Strong mentality

Fowler says when times are tough having self-belief and thinking positively is so important. 

"I remember one of my Liverpool coaches years ago, playing a reserve game, absolutely annihilated me in front of all the lads," added Fowler. "I went out in the second half with the mentality, 'Look I’m going to show you'.

"You’ve got to worry about yourself or focus on yourself as opposed to what people are thinking. What they’re going to do, what they’re going to say.

"You've just got to have that sole belief in wanting yourself to be the very best you can and it's having that mentality to go ahead and do that."

Lifelong skills

That confidence served him well as he made the transition from player to manager. 

"When I was a player and playing I was all about having that self-belief, that confidence to go out there and do what I needed to do," said Fowler, current head coach of Australian team Brisbane Roar.

"It’s exactly the same as a manager. I know what is needed. I’m serious about being a manager. I’m serious about being the very best manager I can be."

Also in this series

See: Inside Matters: Stars discuss mental health challenges

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