Ryan Giggs has revealed he sought treatment to help him adapt to life after Manchester United, saying he had become “institutionalised’’ by his long Old Trafford career.
The mental health of the sport’s professionals is in the spotlight after Everton midfielder Aaron Lennon, 30, was detained under the Mental Health Act amid concerns for his welfare on Sunday.
Earlier this week, his club and the Professional Footballers’ Association offered their support to the former Tottenham player, who last featured for the Toffees as a second-half substitute against Middlesbrough on Feb. 11.
Former Red Devils star Giggs said in his Daily Telegraph column, “I do not know what has affected Aaron, but I always struggled in the periods I was out of the team or playing badly.
“I had a feeling of worthlessness. As a footballer you wonder if your teammates are looking at you and asking the questions you are asking of yourself. Why can’t he hit a decent pass? Why’s he always injured? What’s wrong with him?’’
Former Wales international Giggs, 43, spent the whole of his career at United after coming up through the youth ranks from an early age, then temporarily managed the Premier League club and was assistant to Louis van Gaal for two seasons before leaving last summer.
He added, “Institutionalised is a description I would apply to my life as a footballer at Manchester United. I had been there from the age of 14 to 42, and my life had been so distinctively shaped by the rhythm of life at Old Trafford that I realised, when it was coming to the end last year, I had to make some preparations for the change.