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The ‘alarming’ mental health impact of Covid-19 on Scottish youth football

One advantage of a ‘recession’ in football caused by COCID-19 is that managers of football clubs can no longer rely on splash the cash to improve their squad, thereby helping young players thrive. Clubs will have to get inventive to strengthen their squad. Instead of investing hundreds of millions in headline-grabbing acquisitions in the winter and summer transfer windows, managers and first-team coaches will invest time and care in their youth teams, therefore promoting homegrown talent, and best au online casino are showing interest in this.

Paul Lambert, manager at Ipswich Town, said “At Ipswich, we have a really talented group from under-15s and under-16s upwards,” 

“I know that if we can’t go out and spend a certain amount; we can bring these guys in and develop them.”

Aside from the advantage of allowing youth to thrive, more important, though, is the impact on the mental health of children at all youth levels. Over the last year, they were initially locked up at home, then permitted to play briefly again sometime in the summer, before resuming another lockdown.

The uncertainty and other personal factors aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic are having an intense effect.

Andy Goldie, director of Dundee United’s academy said: “That’s the most alarming thing, We’re well into double figures for one-to-one player care. There’s definitely been a sharp increase this year, and the people making these decisions need to really take notice of that.

“These kids rely on consistency, real football, real interactions, competitiveness, praise, feedback – they rely on that so much, and to stir that away from them is ultimately going to have a negative impact.”

Former Hibernian forward Tam McManus, who is a coach at the Braidhurst performance school in Motherwell, has also seen various signs of some children battling at Braidhurst, especially after they returned to training after the earlier lockdown, which affected and others in their financial status.

He said: “You can see it, though kids don’t always want to open up to you,” 

“Some were coming up to the coaches and you could tell straight away they weren’t their usually bubbly selves.”

Andy Goldie was most worried for youths aged 18-21 – the age bracket where footballers are lost between the academy and the first team. He’s had players reach out to him, who have been told to leave clubs due to the financial constraint being experienced at the clubs.

Goldie said: “It is devastating, these were young professional footballers who should have been treated as such and been given the opportunity to continue their development and earn a contract somewhere or continue at the club they were at.”

Graeme Mathie, Sporting Director of Scottish club Hibernian, said he’s still getting resumes from young footballers, some of whom have been clubless for about a year. He said: “It’s heartbreaking to think there could be so many people lost to the game at this age and stage of their development.”

Even young footballers who are attached to a club are finding their plans shifted. There is no reserve league this campaign due to budget cuts, and B-team matches are hard to organize due to travel restrictions. Moving out on loan is more challenging these days because lower-league clubs are not compelled to test their footballers for Covid-19.



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